2015 Election – our soapbox: Health and Social Care

Posted on 31st March 2015 by

The election is 36 days away and the campaigns have started in earnest. I was at home last week when the Labour candidate for Hove & Portslade came door knocking, so I grabbed the chance to tell him about some of the issues we at Impetus think the candidates should be focusing on. Here’s the first in a series discussing the things that we know matter to the people we work with. 

Polling Station sign

Photo Credit: secretlondon123, cc

Number 1: Changes to Health and Social Care

There are currently big changes under way aiming to bring together Health and Social Care services, and this looks set to continue under any new national government. This should be positive for people who need these services.

The voluntary sector has a key role in making this work, particularly in offering low level, community-based support for individuals to stay independent, active and as well as possible for as long as possible.  Our own Neighbourhood Care Scheme is a part of the Better Care work in two parts of the City, and our new Community Navigators service – part of the EPiC project - is leading the way in showing how to make the links between health services and community-based support services.

The Community Navigators work is especially relevant as it is a brand new concept, trialling how best to get patients connected with the support they need from the voluntary sector, as part of a wider package of care. We are working in partnership with AgeUK Brighton & Hove and with local GPs on this, have had some fantastic successes so far and are planning to share our early evaluation findings soon.

Many parts of the voluntary and community sector are willing and able to provide these kinds of help and activities to complement health and social care services. Voluntary sector organisations are often exceptionally good value and have the added social impact of offering volunteering opportunities for local residents.

But these services are not free to run, and nor should they be. We must take as much care of our service users as any statutory agency would, and that means we need to appropriately check and support volunteers, manage risks, invest in quality and sound governance.

What we want to see:

Local and national politicians making a commitment to the involvement of the voluntary and community sector in the redesign of health and social care services, and a commitment to appropriately fund all services that become part of the new way of working.

What would you like to see? You can comment here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter (@BHImpetus).


2 responses to this post.

  1. Francoise Grimshaw says:

    I would like to see the volunteersector being more involved in monitoring, commenting and being taken seriously rather than perceived as threatening existing jobs. This goes hand in hand with appropriate funding which would avoid employing some very costly private services which are offered the running of services and in consequence making a big profit from it.

    As the saying goes volunteers are not just amateurs! But they do need proper support, training, and not being overloaded either. Voluntary agencies must work to standards and their staff need career safety, without the constant threat of having to close the service due to the lack of funding -short and long-term.

    Because of its flexibility the volunteer system can offer solutions, especially in crises situations, where statutory agencies cannot, due to their unavoidable administrative and procedural heaviness.

    1. Jo Ivens says:

      Hi Francoise,
      Thanks for your comments, it’s great to hear from you. I absolutely agree that volunteers need proper support, especially for roles that are potentially complex or challenging. It’s also really important to keep our service users safe that we have the right kind of recruitment and assessment process. We work hard on this, and our Neighbourhood Care Scheme for example, is accredited as a Mentoring & Befriending Foundation Approved Provider, which means we meet their standards for quality and safety.
      There’s a lot more that charities could do here, but we tread a fine line with keeping our focus on our beneficiaries versus responding to local/national government demands as well as the perennial funding question.
      Thanks again for getting in touch,
      Jo

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