Older People’s Commissioner’s Annual Report

Mark Drakeford: Mae’r Cynulliad yn ystyried adroddiad blynyddol y comisiynydd heddiw, a bu modd i’r Pwyllgor Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol gynnal ein cyfarfod craffu blynyddol gyda hi yn gynharach yn yr hydref. Dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf, daeth nifer o gysylltiadau i’r amlwg rhwng ein gwaith ni fel pwyllgor a gwaith swyddfa’r comisiynydd. Nid yw’n fawr o syndod bod materion iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol yn parhau i fod ar frig y rhestr o broblemau y bydd pobl hŷn yn eu codi gyda’r comisiynydd. Felly’r oedd hi yn ystod y cyfnod pan oedd Ruth Marks yn ymgymryd â dyletswyddau’r comisiynydd, a dyma, o hyd, yw’r maes mwyaf arwyddocaol yng ngwaith y comisiynydd presennol, Sarah Rochira. Rwy’n cytuno’n llwyr gyda phopeth a ddywedodd Darren Millar am waith Ruth Marks ac am ei chyfraniad pwysig i fywydau pobl hŷn yng Nghymru.

[The Assembly considers the commissioner’s annual report today, and the Health and Social Care Committee was also able to hold our annual scrutiny meeting with her earlier in the autumn. Over the past year, a number of links have emerged between our work as a committee and that of the commissioner’s office. It is no great surprise that health and social care issues continue to be high on the list of issues raised with the commissioner by older people in Wales. That was the case during the period in which Ruth Marks undertook the commissioner’s duties, and this continues to be the single most significant strand in the work of the current commissioner, Sarah Rochira. I agree entirely with everything that Darren Millar had to say about the work of Ruth Marks and her important contribution to the lives of older people in Wales.]
 
Dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf, mae’r pwyllgor wedi ymgymryd â nifer o ddarnau o waith sy’n berthnasol i’r comisiynydd. Y mwyaf amlwg, wrth gwrs, oedd yr ymchwiliad i ofal preswyl i bobl hŷn yng Nghymru. Y comisiynydd oedd y tyst cyntaf i roi tystiolaeth i’r ymchwiliad. I ni, roedd hyn yn fan cychwyn amlwg. Rydym yn edrych ymlaen at weithio’n agos gyda hi i sicrhau bod yr argymhellion yn ein hadroddiad yn cael eu derbyn a’u rhoi ar waith cyn gynted â phosibl.

[Over the past year, the committee has undertaken a number of pieces of work that are relevant to the commissioner. The most obvious, of course, has been the inquiry into residential care for older people in Wales. The commissioner was the first witness to give evidence to the inquiry. That was an obvious starting point for us. We look forward to closely collaboration with her to ensure that the recommendations made in our report are accepted and implemented as soon as possible.]
 
Mae adroddiad blynyddol y comisiynydd yn cyfeirio at yr angen i ddiogelu pobl hŷn sy’n agored i niwed ac sydd wedi cael eu cam-drin. Rydym wedi clywed yr hyn a ddywedodd y Dirprwy Weinidog y prynhawn yma, a disgwyliwn y bydd y Bil gwasanaethau cymdeithasol newydd yn cynnwys trefniadau mwy pendant yn ymwneud ag amddiffyn oedolion. Edrychwn ymlaen at ystyried y mesurau hyn pan gaiff y Bil ei gyflwyno.

[The commissioner’s annual report refers to the need to protect vulnerable older people who have been victims of abuse. We have heard the Deputy Minister’s comments this afternoon, and we expect the new social services Bill to include strengthened arrangements around adult protection. We look forward to considering these measures once the Bill is introduced.

Wrth edrych ymlaen, bydd dau fater a gododd yn ystod ein sesiwn gyda’r comisiynydd yn berthnasol i wasanaethau iechyd a gofal cymdeithasol dros y blynyddoedd nesaf. Y cyntaf yw’r cynlluniau i ad-drefnu gwasanaethau iechyd yng Nghymru. Tanlinellodd y comisiynydd ei phenderfyniad i gymryd camau pendant i sicrhau bod gan bobl hŷn lais yn y broses hon ac y bydd y newidiadau sydd ar y gweill yn diwallu eu hanghenion. Yr ail fater yw’r angen parhaus i fynd i’r afael â’r problemau o ran talu am ofal. Mae’r modd rydym yn talu am ofal yn allweddol i’n gallu i ddarparu gwasanaethau o safon i’n pobl hŷn. Rydym yn croesawu ymrwymiad parhaus y comisiynydd i sicrhau y bydd y mater hwn yn parhau i gael sylw a lle blaenllaw yn y ddadl gyhoeddus.

[In looking ahead, two matters that arose during our sessions with the commissioner will be crucial in the delivery of health and social care services over the years ahead. The first is the proposed reconfiguration of health services in Wales. The commissioner emphasises her determination to take an active role in ensuring that the voices of older people are heard as part of this process and that the changes that are under way will meet their needs. The second matter is the continuing need to address the problems of paying for care. The question of how we pay for care is key to our ability to deliver high-quality services deserved by our older people. We welcome the commissioner’s continued commitment in ensuring that this issue is high on the agenda and is at the forefront of the public debate.]
 
  

Yn ystod y ddadl y llynedd, awgrymais mai’r ddolen gyswllt yng ngwaith y comisiynydd yw’r ffaith ei bod yn mynd i’r afael â materion anghyfforddus: y materion hynny a all, fel arall, gael eu hesgeuluso gan y rhai sydd â’r grym yn ein cymdeithas. Gall y rhain gynnwys y prif sefydliadau yn y sector cyhoeddus, sef y byrddau iechyd lleol, cwmnïau corfforaethol rhyngwladol mawr sy’n darparu gofal preswyl, neu’r Gweinidogion yma ac yn Whitehall. Ar sail y dystiolaeth a roddodd i’r Pwyllgor Iechyd a Gofal Cymdeithasol, credaf y gallwn fod yn hyderus fod hon yn her y mae’r comisiynydd newydd yn gwbl benderfynol o’i hwynebu tra bydd yn ei swydd. Edrychwn ymlaen at weithio’n agos gyda hi i fynd i’r afael â’r mater hwn yn ystod y flwyddyn nesaf.

[During last year’s debate, I suggested that the unifying thread in the work of the commissioner is that she takes on the uncomfortable issues: those issues that might otherwise be neglected by those who occupy positions of power in our society. Those can include major public sector organisations, such as local health boards, large multinational corporations that provide residential care, or Ministers here and in Whitehall. On the basis of the evidence that she gave to the Health and Social Care Committee, I think that we can be confident that this is a challenge that the new commissioner is fully determined to meet during her term in office. We look forward to working closely with her on this agenda over the coming year.]
 
Y Dirprwy Lywydd / The Deputy Presiding Officer: Galwaf ar y Dirprwy Weinidog i ymateb i’r ddadl.

[I call on the Deputy Minister to respond to the debate.]
 
Gwenda Thomas: Diolchaf i bob Aelod sydd wedi cymryd rhan yn y ddadl hon. Fe ddechreuaf gyda chyfraniad Aled Roberts, ac rwy’n rwy’n falch ein bod wedi gallu derbyn ei welliannau.
[I thank every Member who has contributed to today’s debate. I will start with the contribution of Aled Roberts, and I am pleased that we have been able to accept his amendments.]

 
Aled Roberts has reiterated the need to work together with the commissioner and I am totally supportive of that. A few Members have mentioned elder abuse. On 18 October 2010, I made quite a clear statement about how I saw the way forward with that. I think that the time has come to legislate for protection and safeguarding. We will do that through the Bill. We need that strength of legislation to move that agenda forward.
 
  

I welcome Darren Millar’s positive remarks about the report and, again, a commitment to work together on the Bill. I endorse the comments that you made about the report. It is right to reflect on the achievements of Ruth Marks and the foundation stones that she laid in building the role of the commissioner. I welcome what you said about independent advocacy. I made it clear in my opening remarks how I see the way forward. It will be a question of resources, but we are absolutely committed to that business plan and we will deliver that, through legislation, with the introduction of the Bill.
 
  

I would like to comment on the declaration of rights before I move on. Although we know that this will not have a base in law, we will push for it with other countries. It will send out a positive message, and a message that we need to send out from here. Therefore, I am glad to support that. I cannot be specific about the timeline at the moment, but I hope to be able to do so soon and to come back on that.
 
  

Jenny Rathbone talked about dementia and care pathways. There is room to look at innovative ways to deliver the service. The Minister for health and I are working on this, thinking about a possible team in terms of a family approach to dementia. I cannot see why that could not work. I would like to tell Members about my visit last Thursday to Clydach Court residential care home, run by Rhondda Cynon Taf Borough County Council, in Trealaw. If you can go there to see it, please do so, because it runs on the butterfly principle. I have not seen anything quite like it in the delivery of dementia services. The staff there have thrown away their uniforms, everybody was on a par with one another, every resident was dealt with as an individual, with respect and dignity, and you got to know a bit about the residents as you walked along the corridors. I know that I have only about seven minutes, but I could take up all that time talking to you about the provision there. It is the kind of exemplary provision that we need to roll out, and I was glad to see it and to launch the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales report in that home.
 
  

Lindsay Whittle gave an impassioned welcome to the report. I really liked what you said, and perhaps it was the most important thing to say today, namely that it is about real people. You put that across very well. You also mentioned abuse, but I think that I have covered my response on that. Digital inclusion and respect are absolutely on the top of the agenda.
 
  

Janet Finch-Saunders was complimentary again about Sarah Rochira’s report and mentioned older people’s champions across parties, with one for each of us. Why not? That is a positive way forward. We are all getting older—I am today, actually [Laughter.]—but, nevertheless, it is a privilege to age and to be able to contribute to society. There are excellent examples of that.
 

 

Nick Ramsay: I am grateful to you for giving way—I feel that I am getting older too. Do you agree that, with an ageing population, each and every one of us should aim to be an older people’s champion, because although legislation is a good thing, with an ageing population, unless we are all vigilant and keep an eye on older people living in our streets and towns, we will not get to where we want to with this?

 
Gwenda Thomas: I absolutely agree with that. We see children and grandchildren being older people’s champions; often, perhaps they are the best champions. However, I endorse and take on board that comment.
 
 
Janet Finch-Saunders made reference to carers. We have legislated for the carers’ strategies, and Wales is leading on this with the involvement of carers in policy development and in individual plans. I have now had seven strategies with which I am happy; there are three more to go. I will update Members on the strategies that have come to hand.
 
  

Mark Drakeford, roeddech yn sôn am y gwasanaeth iechyd a’r gwasanaethau cymdeithasol a’r angen iddynt weithio ar y cyd. Mae hynny’n hollbwysig i’r agenda sydd o’n blaen, fel mae ystyried bod y gwasanaethau hyn ar y brig, fel y dywedoch. Maent yn bwysig i bobl sy’n heneiddio, ond maent yn bwysig i’r bobl sy’n dod ar ein hôl hefyd, oherwydd bydd hwn yn fater teuluol ac unigol i bob un ohonom. Roeddech yn sôn am waith y pwyllgor a’i ymchwiliad i ofal preswyl, sydd yn waith y gallwn i gyd elwa ohono. Byddaf yn ymateb i’r adroddiad hwnnw gan y pwyllgor.

[Mark Drakeford, you talked about health and social services and the need for them to collaborate. That is crucial to the agenda that is ahead of us, as is considering that these services are top-class, as you said. They are important for people who are ageing, but they are important for the people who come after us as well, because this will be a family matter as well as an individual matter for us all. You referred to the work of the committee and its inquiry into residential care, which is work from which we can all benefit. I will respond to that report from the committee.]
  
  
Rydych yn sôn am ddiogelu pobl hŷn. Fel y dywedais, mae angen sêl deddfwriaeth ar yr agenda honno, a byddwn yn gwneud ein gorau i ddiogelu ac amddiffyn pobl hŷn yn well drwy’r Bil. Wrth gwrs, mae’r Bil hefyd er lles pobl hŷn. Ar y mater o dalu am ofal, mae hwn yn fater y mae’n rhaid inni symud ymlaen arno. Rydym wedi cael adroddiad Dilnot, ac rwyf yn aros am gyfarfod gyda Norman Lamb AS. Rydym hefyd yn aros am adroddiad ar waith y pwyllgor arbennig a sefydlwyd yn y Cynulliad, er mwyn i mi gael cyflwyno adroddiad i Aelodau ar y mater hwnnw.

[You mentioned safeguarding older people. As I have said, we need the seal of legislation on this agenda, and we will do our utmost to safeguard and protect older people through the Bill. Of course, this Bill will be for the benefit of older people. On the issue of paying for care, this is a matter that we need to progress. We have the Dilnot report and I am awaiting a meeting with Norman Lamb MP. We are also waiting for the report of the special committee established in the Assembly, so that I can then report back to the Assembly on the matter.]
  

I am very grateful to Members for the support that they have given to the commissioner since she came into post, and for the interesting debate that we have had today. The commissioner’s commitment to engaging with as many older people as possible is clear. Her role as an independent champion of older people’s rights and interests is crucial in our changing society, especially in view of the austerity that we all know that we face. Therefore, I commend the commissioner’s report and thank her and her team for their work. I also thank all Members once again for what I think has been a positive debate.