It said providing services free of charge was “eminently affordable but it needs the political will to make it happen”.
Plaid Cymru’s Care Commission, established to test the viability of developing a National Care Service for Wales in parallel with the National Health Service, has published its findings in the report, Developing a vision for social care in Wales.
The Care Commission recommends social care in Wales be free at the point of need and funded from general taxation. It also believes there needs to be parity of pay between Health and Social Care and that workers in social care should be moved onto NHS pay scales.
Further recommendations include investment in early intervention and preventative health and care services, transforming care into a person-centred service, with a fully bilingual workforce and government investment in technology.
The proposal will now be considered by Plaid Cymru as policy for the Senedd elections in 2021.
Dr Dai Lloyd AM, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for local government, care and public services and member of the Care Commission said: “This is the first stage of the Care Commission’s work. We are excited by the challenge to present a radical workable solution for social care for the people of Wales and the National Care Service working hand in glove with the NHS will be central to the Plaid Cymru government in 2021.
“Aneurin Bevan is rightly celebrated for being the architect of the NHS in the teeth of vocal opposition and vested interests. The challenge to radically reform social care along the same lines as health care is one Plaid Cymru is determined to achieve – finishing Aneurin Bevan’s work.”
Helen Mary Jones AM, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for health and social services welcomed the recommendations and said that the policy will “correct the injustices of people with dementia having to sell their homes to pay for bills.” Ms Jones noted that the existing system is “inefficient, unsustainable and creates the wrong incentives for providers”.
She said: “Social care and social care workers must be given parity of esteem, status and pay within the health and social care system. The existing system is inefficient, unsustainable and creates the wrong incentives for providers. Plaid Cymru’s vision for Social Care in Wales will be radical, nationally led, and delivered across Wales to tackle the pressures on our social services in Wales.
“Changes in social care alone will not deal with the inbuilt unfairness in the system. If we keep a fully funded National Care Service separate from the NHS there will still be arguments about which budget pays for what.
“We will need to go further. That is why the Care Commission has recommended the creation of a single National Health and Care Service for Wales, planned and funded nationally and delivered locally. The implications of this recommendation are far reaching, and there is more work to do but it makes no sense to perpetuate the artificial divide between health and social care that has led to so much inequity for so long.”
Responding to Plaid Cymru’s announcement outlining recommendations for a National Care Service, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said: “This announcement represents an important addition to the debate on how we provide health and social care services in Wales.
“We support further integration of health and social care services in order to revolutionise our system and reduce pressure across our services, but we need to see detailed costings and funding proposals to assess whether a National Care Service is a sustainable solution.”