So, they recommend you are supposed to do 10,000 steps a day. Seldom do I do that many if I am honest during a workday, in fact any day, much to my shame. The last couple of weeks have been an exception though, 12,000 steps on average each day, mainly due to me being in London for a few days attending various meetings across the city.

One of the many meetings included attending a breakfast meeting held by Care and Support and Alliance (CSA). As CSA members, I was invited with a number of other CEO’s and Directors to look at where we can go from here collectively with the strategic direction of the alliance. Our efforts over the past months have focused on the budget, the funding crisis and lobbying of the Treasury and the Minister. As the meeting unfolded it became apparent – the hard work that Vicky McDermott, Chair of CSA and the team has put in has helped ensure that social care is higher on the government agenda than ever before, although the door of the treasury remains firmly closed. Saying that, the CSA (and a number of others, including us), it must be said, will keep knocking. The National Living Wage is here and there is still no firm address of the funding gap. So where to next now?

Well, overall we need to continue the momentum, on many levels. We hear constantly about the state of the NHS and the plight of the junior Doctors, all valid of course, but what about social care? Why isn’t the care crisis hitting the headlines? My fear is that there will have to be (another) catastrophic failure before social care gets the public attention it needs and action to follow – and I know I am not alone in this thinking. I am keen to hear your thoughts on this actually. How do you think the profile of social care can be increased and its importance duly recognised? Answers on a postcard please. In the meantime the pressure sustains and we must start to plug in to local MP’s and the public.  I think there is a real misconception of what social care is, how it is funded and that it will simply be there when we need it.

By dispelling these myths, surely the credibility and importance of the function and sustainability of the Social Care sector will grow. Naturally, this would lead to greater political weight being attached to it and so a ‘hot button’ for politicians to scrap over and to make ‘sincere’ promises about, not to mention be held aloft as a great sector to work in, which in its purest sense it is of course, attracting a stronger workforce.

I know I am preaching to the converted here… What I would ask is please get in touch with your thoughts of where we can help and how we can have a positive impact on the current situation.

So what else was going on? Well, next up was a meeting of the NHS Vanguards Social Care Provider Reference Group. A very enlightening presentation was given in relation to the Airedale vanguard site, looking at telemedicine and technology as well as new models of care that are forward thinking and using innovative approaches. There were certainly some ideas and ‘quick wins’ that could be adopted pretty much straight away by providers that would improve the quality of life for the people you support. Watch this space! The next piece of work is looking to consolidate these and get them out to you.

Also, I attended the social care provider forum in respect of the ‘Transforming Care’ agenda specifically on the national workforce plan… on it goes and it is gathering pace.

Furthermore, I attended the Care Provider Alliance members meeting, with themes of the role of TLAP and how we can support the Department of Health’s cutting the red tape challenge. The hope is this will lead to joined up thinking about capturing data and save everybody time and money. And last but not least, the CQC Trade Association meeting (notes are further on in our newsletter or can be found here).

Speaking of CQC, we are currently holding regional meetings with CQC and our members. We have completed these in the North and Midlands, next week is London (for South East) and South West in mid May. So far the feedback has been very positive, as we open up the floor to ask those difficult questions and look at the changing landscape of social care and the regulator. As always we will feedback the collated key themes and best practice coming out of the meetings.

We continue to work hard to influence in the right spaces and ensure that the sectors’ voice is heard in key forums.  Please do get in touch if would like any further information regarding these. There is a lot of good stuff going on!

On that note, it’s a sunny evening and I ought to go out for a walk, well at least take a few thousand steps…

Best wishes

Lisa

Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director