Securing funding for future years is a key priority for the intermediate care sector in Pembrokeshire.

For the last year Pembrokeshire County Council has been running its intermediate care service which assists people to avoid hospital stays, timely transfer from hospital, faster recovery and reducing the need to go into support care prematurely by maintaining independence.

A report – the first from the service – to the social care overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (June 22) highlighted the successes of the team as well as challenges faced, including security of funding with a heavy reliance on grant finance.

Service manager Linda Jones told the committee that the first year of the department had been difficult and she is “proud of the achievements of that year.”

Performance outcomes indicate “it has had a major impact on the population of Pembrokeshire, and on health and social care resources in preventing hospital admission and facilitating hospital discharge.”

Demand has increased – from 39 referrals in March 2020 to 309 in March 2021 – but the service has still met its under two hour target rate for rapid responses and staffing had been improved.

An intermediate care team hub is staffed by a range of people from a GP, therapists, nurses, social care workers and coordinators to provide a single point of access to a number of services “resulting in better care for our population and reducing duplication,” a report to committee states.

Clr. Paul Rapi asked if staffing was an issue and the committee heard that the service started in a “difficult position” but as it has been established more and more applicants came forward because “people saw it as an opportunity.”

The committee report states: “The main strategic focus will be around the ‘exit’ strategy and the structure of ICT once transformation funding ceases.”

Director of social services Jonathan Griffiths said that a workforce group made up of local authority, health board and third sector members is “working towards” plans to ensure the “very important service” continues if Welsh government funding is removed or reduced, with a deadline of April 2022.