QUESTIONS over the future of social care were discussed at a dedicated event to address the challenges of the system.

The inquiry day looked at how social care could be run in future, as well as the role of local government in commissioning and managing care services.

A report on the event is set to go before a meeting of Dorset County Council’s people and communities overview and scrutiny committee on Monday (20).

The report states: “Local authorities have the primary responsibility to make sure that the care needs of older people and those with complex needs are met now and in the future. However the current system faces significant financial pressures and there is a significant funding gap. Whilst there is an acknowledgement that more money needs to be put into the system costs cannot be met by the taxpayer alone.

“The majority of people already fund their own care and this will continue into the future. What local authorities can and must do is help people plan for their future care needs and ensure that, where people are asked to contribute, the system is fair and transparent.”

Across four sessions, the inquiry day considered issues such as meeting the increasing complexity of need in an aging population and having sufficient numbers of skilled and qualified adult care staff on the front line.

Care providers gave evidence on the difficulties of delivering good quality care in the publicly-funded market and the meeting also heard from commissioning managers and CCG managers regarding what was described as a ‘slow’ pace of e and the lack of shared process and interface on some joint projects.

In one session, evidence was heard from those who receive services.

The report stated: “Overwhelmingly it was felt that there was a lack of information and advice generally around services and support available. Members asked about and carers described not being properly communicated with by professionals and the complexities of navigating the continuing healthcare system.”

The report adds: “They described to members the difficulties in accessing services from a rural location, the cost of taxis to and from appointments and the rapid change of social care staff who might be able to advise and support them. The absence of travel time for workers who provided care and support at home was seen as adding additional pressures and although support at home is described as a key priority for local authorities and the health care system the lack of funding was failing to achieve the desired outcome.”

The committee will meet to discuss the report at County Hall in Dorchester on Monday (20).