Recasting The Future Of Social Care Together: From Existence To Living ... f45bd892b6

14 November 2007
"We have a 20th Century system for delivery, help and support in this country but we have 21st Century demand and expectations" David Behan

This national event brought together a wide range of service users, policy makers and others to work out how people can get the support they want and need from social care for the future.

Dame Denise Platt, DBE Chair CSCI, spoke of visiting councils and reviewing their interaction and listening to service users.

Some councils sit in town hall and have service users bussed in to explain their care, others introduced Dame Denise Platt to service users and let them show her around their care program.

She questioned "How can we truly get personalised care if our ideas and actions are not centred around the person?"

When we are introduced to service users we shouldn't only hear, "This is Mrs. Jones, she had a heart attack, takes pills four times a day" but we should hear "This is Mrs. Jones, this is how she likes to live her life".

David Behan, Director General for Social Care, Department of Health, set the tone of the day in perspective with the meetings he had scheduled to attend on this day.

First off he met with Lord Darzi to talk about what the NHS looks like in 10 years time.

Then he met with the Mental Health Department and spoke about what Mental Health will look like in 2020.

Next he attended this conference discussing the Future of Social Care and followed it with a meeting at the King's Fund to talk about what the future of funding looks like.

There is a definite trend looking and discussing the future today!

David Behan said "I truly believe social care is rising up the political ladder."

The new Prime Minister has the political tide turning, although there is a dilemma, only 4% of the population is using social care services.

Even though 40% will know someone using social care services, 96% will not be actually using the services.

Compared to other services that most of us use it means society is less cognizant of the need for social care.

The Department of Health commissioned a MORI poll and found that only 49% polled realized what social care was.

We talk about the future of social care but if we do not understand the term, how can we have a debate about it's future?

The top three issues facing the future for social care users are:

1) To promote and maintain people's independence

2) It's not the people who are vulnerable but the situations they find themselves in which makes them vulnerable

3) The system in the country for accessing support is hugely complex and difficult

The top four issues that need to be changed are:

1) We need to listen more to people who are using services and we have to push beyond a system of listening and into 'what are you doing about this'. Councils need to listen to the whole population and not just the ones being publicly funded.

2) A key challenge is that we need to think and improve the way we commission services

3) We need to attend to the way we manage the performance framework of organisations. It is not just about knowing the numbers.

4) Absolutely essential that the workforce in social care have access to good training and development opportunities

Top priorities for the future:

1) Personalisation - increasing the take up of direct payments and individual budgets. We are working on how to do this, not whether we should. We need to think expansively and laterally and there are some difficult questions in here about capacity and compulsion.

2) Early intervention to get to the people at risk

3) Dementia - there are over 600,000 people living with dementia and by 2020 we expect 1 million will be

4) Look at the way people are treated and increase their dignity

5) Review the support, help and assistance we give to carers

Peter Beresford OBE, Brunel University, said that "Independent living is one of the greatest ideas of our times."

People are changing the way they are thinking about social care. People who use services are taking control. But many people have not heard about independent or supported living or do not think it is important.

The two big questions we are left with:

1) Why are people still facing problems, being bullied and feeling lonely when we know what works to support people to live better lives?

2) What can we do to make sure that many more people who use services get the support they need to have real choice and control?