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New ADASS president speaks out on social care funding
Date of article: 18-Apr-12
Article By: Rachel Baker, News Editor
Adult social care could be: "frozen like rabbits in the headlights" warns incoming ADASS president Sarah Pickup, "with no chance of an emergency stop, the results would not be pretty."
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents all the directors of adult social services in England and Sarah Pickup is concerned about the current need to reduce budgets along with the pressures from alliances and pressure groups.
At ADASS's spring seminar, Ms Pickup argued that the recent passing of the Health and Social Care Act "only nods to social care" as being needed to make health service reform work.
She also said that the rise of new agencies such as Health and Wellbeing Boards and Clinical Commissioning Groups and new local and national alliances provides adult social care with "a moment of opportunity, knowing that all partners need to change what they do and how they do it."
She said the next part of the equation will be the social care White Paper and how it should support "a funding framework for social care which recognises the need to support and safeguard those with the highest levels of need…" ADASS stress that it should also encourage councils and citizens to invest in prevention and recovery and link them to wider council services.
She continued: "I see it as our job, locally and nationally, to make sure we are not caught in the headlights but that we take the positive opportunities offered by change to work with partner organisations."
She said that the social care funding is "essential to the survival of local government" and pointed out the alliances being formed across the sector: "The crossroads we are at with social care has led to unprecedented cross sector alliances and an outbreak of violent agreement about the need to act now."
Other points Ms Pickup made include the need for:
* Improvements in both commissioning and providing
* Greater transparency about the costs of care
* Ensuring that information, advice and support is available to all our citizens
* Exerting influence “within our own authorities, lower tier authorities, towns and communities which allows people to participate and to thrive no matter what their condition.”
She also commented on the high quality care she had personally witnessed: "When I visit services I am humbled by the compassion and determination of individual staff, often in low-paid roles, who go the extra mile to make someone comfortable; to reassure families, or to find a way to communicate with someone with dementia.
"Simple things like letters that answer the questions that have been asked; calls returned on time; letting people know if a homecarer is unavoidably delayed - just being polite - make all the difference about how people feel about the support and care they receive," she says.
And overall she warns against despondency: “Yes, to get the best health and social care services we will also need reform and a sustainable solution for funding. But we must not allow ourselves to believe that without these there is nothing we can do. A counsel of despair is something we must avoid no matter how hard the times."
Photo: Incoming ADASS President Sarah Pickup