Tell us your stories about Social Care services in Liverpool
As we move into 2017, Healthwatch England have published a list of people's 'Top 5 Health Priorities for 2017'.
This week we're focusing on the number 2 issue: Social Care.
We want you to tell us your experiences of accessing social care services in Liverpool either for yourself, a family member or friend. We'll then make sure that people's voices are at the heart of decisions about care services in Liverpool.
Social Care is a rising priority for people in Liverpool as services come under increasing pressure to meet the rising demand of an ageing population. If people can't access good quality care when they need it either in their own home or in a dedicated care home then this has consequences for people's individual health and wellbeing and for local health services in a wider sense.
Budgets are tighter than ever before after years of cuts to local authority finances. A number of care homes have closed, others have faced problems and many now charge 'top up fees' which make them too expensive for many local families. There is little choice for many people needing a care home place.
Home care services are also finding it hard to meet people's needs and care packages can take a while to be put in place. All this make it harder for people to be discharged from hospital. Patients and their families tell us how stressful this is but we want to hear from more people with their own stories to tell.
If hospitals can't send people home with an appropriate package of care in place or find them a suitable care home placement this can mean that they remain in hospital longer than they need to be. This is bad news for the health of the individual and puts pressure on hospitals which are already at or close to capacity.
Healthwatch Liverpool Chair Lynn Collins says "The social care crisis is one of the hidden causes of the difficulties facing the NHS this winter. We know that Liverpool City Council are having to deal with large cuts in funding since 2010 but it's important that we find ways to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are able to access the care and support that they need.
'Speak Up' and tell us your stories about social care services in Liverpool so we can add your voice to others highlighting where improvements can and should be made."