Councils’ social care services will be measured against tougher standards from next year- including one to test how well health and social care services link up.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt (left), who published the new measures last Friday, wants service users and members of the public to employ the revamped measures to hold councils to account.
The new criteria, against which councils will have to report their progress, includes a measure of how services improve “people’s experience of integrated care”. The standards will also measure the effectiveness of “reablement” services, which aim to help older hospital leavers to readjust to home life.
Other measures cover the quality of services which help dementia patients to live independently, and the extent to which care users report having “as much social contact as they would like”.
In a foreword to a report on the new measures, Mr Hunt said: “People who use care and support, carers and the public can use this information to see how well their council is performing, making local authorities genuinely answerable to their communities for the quality of care.
“Councils themselves use the measures to help them drive up standards of care, and give people genuine choice and control over the services they use.”
Mr Hunt said there had been “progress” in many areas of social care, such as the rising number of people using personal budgets. However, he said: “While it is positive that nearly two thirds of users of care say they are extremely or very satisfied with their care and support, this leaves scope to do more to ensure that everyone has a good experience.”