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Is Government’s plan enough to truely ‘put people at the heart of care’?

by | Apr 5, 2023 | Adult social care, Health and NHS improvements | 0 comments

This week, the Department of Health and Social Care published ‘Next steps to put People at the Heart of Care’. The update has left many in the sector feeling frustrated and disappointed, particularly with £600m of £1.7bn of funding for improvement programmes between now and 2025 being held back.

Sarah McClinton, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) described the plan as leaving “the Government’s vision for reform in tatters” and stated that “if the Government won’t commit fully to this first step towards the long-term fully funded plan we need, the crisis will only continue”.

So, how does the sector move forward without full funding commitments and clear direction?

No-one would challenge the government’s three objectives of:

  1. People have choice, control and support to live independent lives
  2. People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  3. People find adult social care fair and accessible

However, the plan lacks the pace and focus to have the desired impact. It is therefore critical to set local ambition and deliver through ICBs and ICSs rather than waiting to be told how to transform centrally. This is further supported by Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt’s independent review of integrated care systems and Dr Claire Fuller’s ‘Next steps for integrating primary care: Fuller stocktake report’.

There are clear opportunities to design and deliver local models of change, but it will take brave leadership from system leaders and a willingness to work differently with providers, the voluntary and community sector, and the general public, to ensure that people’s lived experiences are at the heart of this change.

Although we welcome the plan having a significant focus on data and digital, there is the potential to become obsessed with data collection such as residential capacity, and less focus on how to generate insight and use it to inform sustainable change now. There is also the potential to lose sight of the vision as expressed by Social Care Future: “we all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing things that matter to us.”

Through our work, we witness every day our clients’ passion and determination to achieve this vision. For example, it was clear that Manchester City Council never lost sight of this, as it remains at the heart of their Better Outcomes, Better Lives Programme.

Working across organisational boundaries, developing a clear set of ambitions based on a robust evidence base, and designing and delivering change are key aspects of IMPOWER’s work with the public sector. As an organisation, we are committed to improving people’s outcomes and experiences, supporting staff to feel better valued and helping system leaders to navigate complexity and set local direction. If you would like to discuss our work and research further, please get in touch.