Social Care News

LGA calls for five-year commitment to health and social care funding

Written by LGA

A five-year commitment to transform health and social care funding is urgently needed to avoid the care system spiralling towards a deeper crisis, council leaders are warning today.


Local Government Association (LGA) analysis reveals that councils will have to spend as much as 40 per cent of overall budgets on services that care for older and vulnerable people by 2020, rising 13 per cent faster than any other service provided to local residents.


Local areas have already pooled £5.4 billion in local Better Care Fund plans for 2015/16, 40 per cent more than the £3.8 billion minimum required by the Department of Health. The plans, which will integrate health and social care money, will come into effect in April 2015 and are being agreed by local authorities and health partners.


The LGA is now warning that a larger Better Care Fund is needed for a five-year period and alongside this, a separate transformation fund is needed to ease the initial impact of the changes. This should come with clear targets to deliver change.


A lack of clarity about the future of health and social care funding could risk the early efforts to integrate services and is urging the Government to commit to a joint fund until 2020 that will allow councils and health partners to continue working closely together to provide the best services for residents in the longer-term.


Joint funding for health and social care will provide residents with a better quality of care at home and reduce the need for hospital beds. It will help pay for seven-day a week services to support people being discharged from hospital, preventing unnecessary admissions at weekends and reducing admissions to residential care.


As well as improving lives, savings made will be essential to ensure that councils can continue to afford to provide other vital services to those who need them with pressures caused by our ageing population meaning councils need an extra £400 million each year just to maintain services at current levels.


During the life of this Parliament, councils will have had to find £20 billion worth of savings. As a result, councils have had to reduce adult social care budgets by £2.68 billion over the last three years. Although local authorities have managed to limit the impact on the essential care services that people rely on, it is inevitable that services will eventually start to suffer unless there is a long-term commitment to reforming our broken system. Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA Chairman, said:


“It is indisputable that in order to improve the lives of older and vulnerable people in this country there is a need for significant changes to the way that social care is funded. A five year commitment to join up funding between health and social care would provide the certainty and stability required to transform care services for the people who need and rely on them.


“Evidence has shown that integrating health and social care means people will receive better care at home and a reduced need for hospital beds. The Better Care Fund is a good start, but it would be short-sighted to expect it to solve the problems of the health and social care system overnight. Health and social care partners have shown their confidence in joining up their funding by putting in additional money over and above what was required by the Department of Health, but despite this there has still not been any indication that funding will be extended beyond this first year.


“Both councils and the NHS are committed to providing the best possible care, so it is vital that we are working closely together with greater ambition and a sense of common purpose if we are serious about making every effort to create a care system that will improve people’s lives.


“We are all responsible for making sure that we have a care system that is fit for the 21st century. No one is saying this will be easy. There is less money in the system for everyone, but joining up funding will present opportunities to transform and improve the lives of those using health and care services over the medium and long term at a lower cost.”

NHS England takes action to improve race equality across the NHS workforce

Written by NHS England


NHS England has this week announced action to improve race equality across the NHS workforce.


The move follows recent reports that have highlighted disparities in the number of BME people in senior leadership positions across the NHS, as well as lower levels of wellbeing amongst the BME population.


From April 2015, NHS organisations across the country will be required to demonstrate progress against a number of indicators of workforce equality, including a specific indicator to ensure that boards are representative of the communities they serve.


Guidance for the new standard – called the Workforce Race Equality Standard – has been published this week.


Alongside the standard, the NHS Equality Delivery System (EDS2) will also become mandatory. This is a toolkit that aims to help organisations improve the services they provide for their local communities and provide better working environments for all groups.


The standard and the EDS2 will be included in the 2015/16 Standard NHS contract. NHS regulators – the Care Quality Commission, Trust Development Agency and Monitor – will use both of these to help assess whether NHS organisations are well-led.


Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “The Five Year Forward View sets out a direction of travel for the NHS – much of which depends on the health service embracing innovation, engaging and respecting staff, and drawing on the immense talent in our workforce.


“We know that care is far more likely to meet the needs of all the patients we’re here to serve when NHS leadership is drawn from diverse communities across the country, and when all our frontline staff are themselves free from discrimination. These new mandatory standards will help NHS organisations to achieve these important goals.”


Roger Kline, Research Fellow at Middlesex University Business School, who led the development of the standard, said: “The evidence is clear that treating all healthcare staff fairly and with respect is good for patient care.  When black and minority ethnic staff, who make up a large minority of nurses, doctors and other NHS staff, are treated fairly it improves patient experience and patient safety. The Workforce Race Equality Standard encourages, and where necessary requires, all NHS providers to treat all black and minority ethnic staff fairly and ensure their full talents are used. It is good news for patients and for staff that NHS organisations have adopted this ground breaking evidence-based approach.”

NHS England welcomes new plans for radical shake up of youth mental health care

Written by NHS England


NHS England has welcomed plans for a radical shake up of youth mental health care to be announced today by MP Norman Lamb (Tuesday).


Care and Support Minister Mr Lamb will say that children and young people’s mental health services need a complete overhaul to stop vulnerable young people missing out on vital support.


Following an in-depth look at mental health and wellbeing support for children and young people, the Government has set out a blue-print for improving care over the next five years.


Tailored support to match the needs of individual children and young people; easier access to care; and better support for families are some of the proposals outlined in a wide ranging report, commissioned by the Government last year.


Co-chaired by Martin McShane, NHS England’s Director for Patients with Long Term Conditions, and Jon Rouse, Director General for Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships, a Taskforce was convened by Norman Lamb last year and has worked over six months to develop proposals.


Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Long Term Conditions, said:  “The taskforce has laid the foundations on which we will now build an effective mental health service for our children and young people; we must deliver real change.


“A safe, effective, available service close to home is what we want to give to families and while this is being delivered really well in some places access is still patchy in others.


“By introducing these recommendations we want to make sure there is a reliable offer for children and young people everywhere.”


Read more about Dr McShane’s thoughts in his blog.


Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said:  “Children and young people face enormous challenges – from exam pressures and starting higher education or work, to relationships and peer pressure – and these can be intensified by constant exposure to social media.


“I want to change the way we think about mental health care so that any child, whether they have a mental illness or simply need support through a difficult time, can get the right help at the right time. There are some excellent examples of areas that have got this right with ‘one-stop-shop’ services in the community, information and support online via apps, and help for whole families. These plans set out how we can ensure no child is left struggling alone.”


This week, the Government also announced a £1.25 billion funding boost for young people’s mental health care, including new access and waiting time standards for children’s services and plans to make specialist talking therapies available in every area of the country – plans which align with key proposals in the report.


Nikki Mattocks, 17, who took part in an engagement project by the Taskforce, said:  “Children and young people have an extremely powerful voice when you listen to it. By listening to us, who have experienced mental health services, The taskforce report heard the issues that matter most to us, where the system failed us and when we couldn’t get the help we so badly needed. Children and young people’s voices are the most important and should continue to be listened to as the recommendations of the report are carried out.”


Other proposals include:

  • Tackling stigma and improving attitudes to mental illness by building on the success of Time to Change and developing a targeted campaign to create a culture where young people and their families are not afraid to seek help.
  • Information and self-help via online tools and apps with approved information and support that will help young people ‘self-care’ and know how to seek professional help if they need it.
  • Changing the way services are commissioned so that care is based around the needs of children and their families and they can get the right support from the right service at the right time
  • Continued support throughout teenage years in to early 20s to avoid a cliff-edge of lost support at 18.
  • ‘One stop shop’ support services in the community so that anyone needing support knows where to find it.
  • Improved care for children and young people in crisis so they are treated in the right place at the right time, as close to home as possible. This would build on the work of the Crisis Care Concordat to make sure no-one under 18 experiencing a mental health crisis is detained in a police cell.
  • More support for parents to help them improve family relationships, avoid early trauma, support their children to build resilience and improve behaviour.
  • Mental health training for health professionals, including GPs, and others who work with children and young people such as staff in schools to help them identify problems and make sure children and young people get the help they need.
  • Improved access for children and young people who are particularly vulnerable, such as looked after children and care leavers, and those in contact with the youth justice system.


The report sets out how much of this can be achieved through better links between the NHS, local authorities, charities, schools and other local services. It is also clear that many of these proposals can be achieved by reorganising and without the need for significant further investment.


There are numerous centres which illustrate best practice in England. Here are a few of them:

Our vital stand against child sexual exploitation – Jane Cummings

Written by NHS England


England’s Chief Nursing Officer marks National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day and calls for pledges of support:


This is the first National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day and is rightly dedicated to raising awareness of this difficult and emotive agenda across all agencies.


Everyone who works in health and care has a significant contribution to make in identifying children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation and supporting the treatment and recovery of those harmed.


It is often nurses and other health and care professionals who are in a position to identify those children and young people most at risk.


Rebecca McGeown, Specialist Safeguarding Nurse for CSE at Lancashire Care Foundation Trust discusses her work in CSE and what you can do to identify those at risk. A useful resource to support staff is the NWG Network. Read more about the work of the NWG Network from Ray McMorrow, a Specialist Nurse with the NWG Network.


Through the work of NHS England’s CSE sub-group there are a variety of initiatives taking place including:

  • Pan Cheshire CSE Strategic Group, which includes representatives from NHS England, police and local authorities, launching their CSE strategy and toolkit.
  • Warrington CCG using the NWG Network website banner and suggested tweets to highlight the issue to GPs.
  • Blackpool Teaching Hospitals taking part in a series of four cross government workshops in relation to CSE, facilitated by DfE, Home Office and DH. These will focus on how local areas are tackling CSE, what works and what could improve.
  • The East Midlands NHS England Health and Justice team holding a commissioning engagement event to help take forward the commissioning of a regional Paediatric Sexual Assault and Referral Centre.


It is vital as nurses, midwives and health staff that we continue to listen to the voice of children and young people in order to learn from their experiences and improve the services we provide. Their voice is crucial in identifying those at risk of sexual exploitation and stopping this form of abuse.


Julie Warren-Sykes has provided a personal account of why all nurses and health staff should listen to what children and young people tell us.


As part of National CSE Awareness Day, I ask that you pledge what you can do individually and collectively as nurses and health staff, to support children and young people who are being sexually exploited.


Your pledge can be anything, from speaking out, to educating others. It is your promise to the children and young people affected by child sexual exploitation to protect and support them.


I will encourage all nurses, midwives and health professionals to listen to the voices of children and young people so that we may collectively stop this form of abuse.

New health and social care regulations take effect: Care Quality Commission issues guidance to providers

Written by NHS England:


As of 1 April, all GPs in England that have been rated under the new Care Quality Commission (CQC)inspection methodology are required to prominently display their rating within their practice. CQC has developed an online tool that will automatically generate a poster for each practice to download, print and display. Practices already inspected will have 21 calendar days to display their rating. This new rule is a result of the Requirement to Display Ratings regulations that have come into effect alongside the new Fundamental Standards, Duty of Candour and Fit and Proper Persons Requirement regulations. CQC have published guidance on the new regulations.

New Mental Capacity Act Directory

Written by NHS England


The Social Care Institute for Excellence has also published a new Mental Capacity Act (MCA) Directory, an online collection of up-to-date MCA materials. Examples of good practice, and other useful content, have been submitted by professionals across all the sectors that use the MCA.  It is a useful new resource that gives easy access to quality-assured MCA resources. It is vital that staff working with people who may lack capacity, fully understand the implications of the Mental Capacity Act.

Strength-based approach to assessment and eligibility

Written by NHS England:


The aim of the Care Act is to promote people’s wellbeing and independence. The act says that professionals should “look at the person’s life, considering their needs and agreed outcomes in the context of their skills, ambitions and priorities.” This is called taking a strengths-based approach and from 1 April this becomes the law. A new guide and accompanying film from the Social Care Institute for Excellence show how using a strengths-based approach in assessment should put people at the centre of understanding their own needs.


New Mental Health Taskforce launched

Written by NHS England:


On 25 March, NHS England launched the Mental Health Taskforce bringing together leaders and experts, including service users, from across the health and care system to collaborate on the best ways to design and deliver mental health services in England. The taskforce will develop a 5 Year National Strategy for Mental Health covering services for all ages. This will be the first time there has been a strategic approach to designing mental health services spanning all settings, providers and ages.

Give your views on Freedom to Speak up recommendations

Written by NHS England:


In February, Sir Robert Francis published Freedom to Speak Up. It made recommendations on supporting NHS staff to raise concerns about poor care, including having whistleblowing guardians in every Trust, a new national whistleblowing officer, and proposed legislation to protect whistle-blowers who apply for NHS jobs from discrimination. A consultation on delivering a number of these recommendations launched on 12 March, and closes on 4 June. Please give your views.