New care chief makes case for more cash to meet de­mand

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

THE new boss of the body that rep­re­sents care homes and home­care providers in North Wales has pledged to fight for fair fund­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Mary Wim­bury, the new chief ex­ec­u­tive of Care Fo­rum Wales which cham­pi­ons the in­ter­ests of more than 450 mem­bers, there’s never been a bet­ter time for care providers to speak with one voice to en­sure the peo­ple of Wales can get the care they need.

She said: “Care Fo­rum Wales is strongly mak­ing the case that so­cial care is chron­i­cally un­der­funded and des­per­ately needs ex­tra money putting into it.

“The sec­tor is strug­gling to pro­vide the care that is needed with care homes clos­ing and local author­i­ties are try­ing to get peo­ple to de­liver home care pack­ages which they are just un­able to do.

“Peo­ple are now liv­ing longer, de­mand for so­cial care is in­creas­ing all the time and the needs of those go­ing into care are be­com­ing greater.

“We all want to see care sec­tor staff be­ing prop­erly re­warded but the in­creases we’ve seen in the min­i­mum wage over the past few years haven’t been re­flected in the fees paid by local author­i­ties and health boards to the providers of care homes and domi­cil­iary care.”

Care Fo­rum Wales works closely with the Welsh Govern­ment, com­mis­sion­ers and reg­u­la­tors to shape poli­cies MARY WIM­BURY that fo­cus on mak­ing sure peo­ple re­ceive the high­est qual­ity care.

It also works to raise the pro­file of the so­cial care work­force and ev­ery year or­gan­ises the pres­ti­gious Wales Care Awards, a cel­e­bra­tion of the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion of the so­cial care work­force.

The in­flu­en­tial not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion also runs train­ing events, pro­fes­sional groups and con­fer­ences to pro­mote best prac­tice and share knowl­edge amongst its mem­bers.

Tak­ing the helm as its first ever chief ex­ec­u­tive is 48 year-old Mary Wim­bury who steps into the top job after six years as the fo­rum’s se­nior pol­icy ad­vi­sor.

Ms Wim­bury, who lives with her hus­band and three chil­dren in Rho­son-Sea in Conwy County, said: “I’m look­ing for­ward to the new chal­lenge, es­pe­cially as it comes at a key time when our mem­bers in the so­cial care sec­tor are un­der a lot of pres­sure due to fund­ing con­straints and new reg­u­la­tions com­ing in from the Welsh Govern­ment. “We already have So­cial Ser­vices and Well­be­ing Act, which came into force last year and re­fo­cuses the way we de­liver care in Wales.

“We also have Reg­u­la­tion and In­spec­tion Act with reg­u­la­tions due to take ef­fect from next April re­quir­ing ev­ery care home and domi­cil­iary care agency in Wales to rereg­is­ter with the Care and So­cial Ser­vices In­spec­torate. Fol­low­ing on from that we will see all care work­ers re­quired to be in­di­vid­u­ally reg­is­tered over the next four years.

“These are both sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges fac­ing our mem­bers and Care Fo­rum Wales is sup­port­ing them through it as much as pos­si­ble.

“This means there’s never been a bet­ter time for care providers to be represented by an or­gan­i­sa­tion such as ours which pro­vides a high level of sup­port and en­ables them to speak with one voice.”

Ms Wim­bury grew up in Kent al­though her fam­ily orig­i­nally hails from Manch­ester where both her par­ents were coun­cil­lors.

Her father, Harry Wim­bury, chaired the Wel­fare Ser­vices committee, deal­ing with care pro­vi­sion. She went to schools near Maid­stone, Rain­ham near Gilling­ham and Chatham and went on to Oxford Uni­ver­sity, where she ob­tained a de­gree in math­e­mat­ics.

An early re­spon­si­bil­ity was as Pres­i­dent of the Stu­dent Union in Oxford and as a mem­ber of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive of the Na­tional Union of Stu­dents.

After uni­ver­sity she be­gan her ca­reer as a par­lia­men­tary li­ai­son of­fi­cer with the As­so­ci­a­tion of Met­ro­pol­i­tan Author­i­ties – now part of the Local Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion – deal­ing with leg­is­la­tion in­volv­ing local govern­ment.

Later she joined the BBC, first in par­lia­men­tary li­ai­son then be­com­ing head of public re­la­tions in its news de­part­ment and later a se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­vi­sor work­ing on the cor­po­ra­tion’s high-pro­file an­nual report.

She then be­came head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Local Govern­ment In­for­ma­tion Unit and gained a mas­ter’s de­gree in public pol­icy at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don.

Be­fore join­ing Care Fo­rum Wales in 2011, she spent five years as di­rec­tor of the UK Math­e­mat­ics Trust, a char­ity c which runs maths en­rich­ment projects for sec­ondary school pupils across Bri­tain.

Look­ing at other chal­lenges she f faces in her new role with the fo­rum, Ms Wim­bury added: “Apart from im­ple­ment­ing two pieces of Welsh Govern­ment leg­is­la­tion, I’d say that the big­gest is­sue for so­cial care providers is fund­ing, which is a par­tic­u­larly con­tro­ver­sial topic at the m mo­ment across the UK.

“If we can se­cure ad­e­quate fund­ing f for the sec­tor and get that right ev­eryt thing else should fol­low.

“In the fo­rum we also need to work on newer meth­ods of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with our mem­bers, con­tinue to build our mem­ber­ship and also look at other or­gan­i­sa­tions we can work with as part­ners.

“So­cial care providers need to be mem­bers of an or­gan­i­sa­tion in or­der to in­flu­ence de­ci­sions be­ing taken that af­fect them at a local, re­gional and na­tional level and I hope that or­gan­i­sa­tion can be Care Fo­rum Wales.”

Care Fo­rum Wales chair­man Mario Kreft MBE said: “We were de­lighted to ap­point some­body of Mary un­doubted cal­i­bre as the new chief ex­ec­u­tive at such a cru­cial time in the so­cial care sec­tor.

“Mary has shown dur­ing her time as se­nior pol­icy of­fi­cer and more re­cently as the in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive that she has a firm grasp of all the is­sues and a real de­ter­mi­na­tion to cam­paign for fair­ness for the providers to en­sure we pro­vide the best pos­si­ble care for some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ties across Wales.”

Mary Wim­bury is the first chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Care Fo­rum Wales and (inset) chair­man Mario Kreft MBE

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