COUNCILS and health boards need to make major changes to the way they plan and commission services for people with dementia.

This is according to a national review by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, which found current arrangements for commissioning services aren’t sustainable in the face of the squeeze on public finances.

It says councils are trying to change how services work, such as by promoting independence and keeping people at home for longer, but council’s haven’t effectively engaged the public to inform them of why this needs to happen.

While most local authorities want to transform their services, their intention hasn’t evolved into robust and financially sustainable plans.

The CSSIW made a raft of recommendations, calling for the public to be brought into the debate about changes to adult social care services.

Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, Imelda Richardson, said: “Local authorities are transforming their services in order to support people to remain living in their own home and community.

“However, more needs to be done to ensure people understand why these changes need to be made”.

She said by 2021 the number of people with dementia in Wales is expected to increase by 31 per cent and as much as 44 per cent in some rural areas.

“Local authorities and health boards must increase the pace at which they are transforming services to deliver integrated models of care that will effectively support people with dementia and their carers.”

Inspectors found integrating health and social care services is slow, and there are significant gaps in the planning and provision of prevention and early intervention services for people with dementia.

The CSSIW said there needs to be a greater focus by local authorites and health boards on the quality of care and quality of life when monitoring service contracts.