Healthwatch challenges Cambridgeshire County Council to cut care package waiting times

A commitment to care can impact on a career

A commitment to care can impact on a career - Credit: Archant

Waiting times for vulnerable people in need of care assessments have fallen with the average wait now around 11 weeks in Cambridgeshire.

However, watchdog Healthwatch says this is still too long and they are continuing to monitor the situation across the county.

When the body was launched in summer 2013 the waiting time for an assessment was 47 weeks.

An assessment is needed before a ‘care package’ can be put in place for people who need services and equipment to help them live more comfortably.

One of the Healthwatch’s roles is to challenge local and social care decision makers if care is not working as it should.

Cambrdigeshire County Council were questioned on three key areas including how many people were waiting for a care package and how long they had been waiting.

People are prioritorised according to need with those in greatest need ranked P1 (priority one).

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In October 2013 the longest waiting time was 47 weeks and Healthwatch raised their concerns with Cambridgeshire’s overview and scrutiny committee and also with the national body Healthwatch England.

By July 2014 there were 147 people waiting for an assessment - most of them were in East Cambs and Fenland, Cambridge and South Cambs. Of these 34 were P1s - the longest waiting time was 14 weeks.

In January last year the waiting times were rising again with 224 awaiting assessment and 34 of them were P1s.

By December 2015 there were 144 waiting, 46 were P1s and there was still an 11 week waiting in Cambridge and South Cambs for P1 people.

A spokesman for Healthwatch said: “We are pleased that waiting times are now shorter for most people, and fewer people are waiting for an assessment, but 11 weeks is still a long time.

“We will continue to ask the council for regular updates on care assessment waiting times, and challenge them again if we need to.

If you or someone you know is waiting for a care assessment you can contact Healthwatch Cambridgeshire to tell them about your experience call on 01480 420628.