It’s been a busy week for me as both President and a DASS. Plenty of meetings and phone calls for both from my work base in Central Bedfordshire (CB). Managing to juggle my Presidency while still continuing as a DASS. One of my meetings, was with Ros Roughton a Director at DHSC who came to look at the relationship between social care and housing, one of the big focuses of my year as ADASS President.  Ros visited our extra care living scheme in Dunstable, Priory View and the visit included meeting one of our residents Mike (as shown in the photo) who enjoys showing visitors around his apartment. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we simply cannot provide the best care possible if we cannot provide adequate housing to reflect the changing needs of older and disabled people, and even more crucially, affordable housing to allow care workers to live in the areas they work in. I had a really productive chat with Ros and I’ve already agreed to organise a roundtable and policy day later in the year to focus more on this, so watch this space!

Ros also met colleagues in a local hospital(one of 7 outside CB) to look at a tracker we’ve developed to keep an overview of our residents and colleagues in a primary care centre to discuss our multidisciplinary approach (including Housing officers).

Last week we received news of the one year spending round by central government to prepare for EU Exit. Of course we’ve all seen the comments made by the Prime Minister, which looks as though adult social care is at the top of his domestic agenda, and while we haven’t heard much more since, I think it’s important to take away some real positives, and look at the potential from last week’s announcement. This could be the opportunity for the Government to really seize the moment, and deliver on its ambitions to ‘sort out social care’. It’s still early days for this Government, but so far, following conversations we’ve had, things do feel different – let’s be hopeful. With this in mind, I would welcome your responses and comments to the various options that have been proposed. Would you like ADASS to come out behind the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s report, for example? Or those of the Health Select and MHCLG Committee? Is it the case that we have good legislation in the Care Act, MCA, HRA etc but just not the funding to implement them? How do we deal with both the catastrophic costs of care for some individuals  who need long term care and deal with the core quantum of funding that leave us people with unmet and undermet need and carers having to give up work.

As I am sure you’ve seen, Skills for Care have recently released their latest report, ‘Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2019’. This is an interesting read about the current state of our workforce. Like housing, we cannot deliver good care and support, and the NHS will always be held back without a skilled, valued, and properly remunerated adult social care workforce and it’s clear that we need a national strategy to help. While this is a long term issue, current political uncertainty isn’t helping – the British market is certainly less attractive for many skilled workers whom may have otherwise come here to work. There don’t appear to be the incentives at present to get more people into the care sector. I am hopeful that in the medium term we can see the  strategy that puts our staff on par with our NHS colleagues, which would be one step to retaining more of our workforce. I’m pleased with the work that Suzanne Joyner and colleagues in the Workforce network, supported by Ian Hall, are putting into defining the ADASS position.

I think this will be my last blog before the bank holiday weekend – so however you’ll be spending your long weekend, enjoy!

Julie