An overview of the ‘Impact of the White Paper – Care Talk Conference’
In case you missed it, we wanted to share an overview of some of the key points discussed in the recent ‘Impact of the White Paper – Care Talk Conference’ that took place the other week. Key speakers at this conference included Kathryn Smith (CEO of SCIE), Vic Raynor OBE (CEO of The National Care Forum), and Helen Hayes (Labour MP).
Kathryn Smith, CEO of SCIE
Kathryn opened this conference by talking about SCIE’s recent letter to the PM, Chancellor, and Secretary of State asking for Social Care reform.
In this ask, they identified 3 priority areas for action:
- Funding for short-term stabilisation
- Urgently bringing forward investment and reform proposals needed to ensure the sustainable long-term future of Social Care
- Investment in the short-term to speed the shift towards a system of Social Care that is both sustainable and fit for the modern age
Kathryn discussed how the last year has brought a lot of challenges to the Social Care sector and how the pandemic actually highlighted a number of inequalities. She states that as a sector “we are not looking for a return to how we were”, but that reform is needed to take us well into the future that really strives to bring the vision for Social Care to life through innovation and new ways of working.
Vic Raynor OBE, CEO of The National Care Forum
Also speaking at this conference was Vic Raynor, who discussed the ambitions for integration, data, assurance, and reform.
When looking at the ambitions for integration from the White Paper, Vic outlines which key players are going to be involved at the ICS (integrated care systems) top table. The top of the ICS framework will be made up of ‘ICS NHS Body Boards’ and will involve the NHS trust, GP’s and local authorities and other commissioning decision-makers within health, whose focus is around health and provision. Yet the big concern here that Vic identifies is that there aren’t any Social Care providers or people who use care and support services at the top table. It is important to bring forward a concerted message about how Social Care providers should be represented to ensure a stronger role for care right from the top of these frameworks.
Vic went on to discuss that one of the biggest concerns when the White Paper came, was that it would end up being billed in some way as a key element of Social Care reform when in reality it has much more of a legislative focus on the reorganisation of health systems. The White Paper promises a reform of Social Care, as did the Queen when she made the same promise in her speech, however a promise for reform is not enough and we have to get to a place where we have something tangible to look at, talk about and debate to outline what we want for the future of Social Care.
Helen Hayes, Labour MP
In the conference, Helen shared the view that the White Paper actually overshadows Social Care reform. Where the White Paper outlines integration between health and Social Care, this assumes a level of equality, however the NHS and Social Care are not on equal footing. Social Care is fragmented and disjointed and is in need of reform.
- Social Care will remain chronically underfunded – without reform of funding the thresholds of care will rise.
- There is no Social Care system without reform, we need a vision for the future – integration will not help people to navigate the complex landscape within the sector.
- There is no solution to the 110,000 vacancies in Social Care (and rising) – it will not address the issue of the Social Care workforce. Reform should reconsider Social Care pay and career progression to help retain the highly valued staff we have, but also to attract more people into the sector.
- There are Governance problems – only local authorities are represented on boards – they could end up representing a number of LA areas due the geographical areas covered by the ICS’s.
- More than a decade in power and the government has refused to bring the reform forward. The range of options for reform are mapped out and well understood, now government need to bring forward a vision for Social Care. 2 years ago the PM told us they had prepared a plan, we now want to see this in action.
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