In the run up to our Pragmatic Solutions to Care Event, we are interviewing members of the Pragmatic Practitioners. The Pragmatic Practitioners aim for better, more professional assistance to people at difficult times in their lives. These may be disabled people, those experiencing mental health difficulties or elderly people. Some of these people may be in vulnerable situations.
Jane Townson is the CEO of the UK Homecare Association, the professional association of home care providers from the independent, voluntary, not-for-profit and statutory sectors. UKHCA helps organisations that provide social care, which may include nursing services, to people in their own homes (also known as domiciliary care or homecare), promoting high standards of care and providing representation with national and regional policymakers and regulators. The Association represents over two-thousand members across the United Kingdom, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Jane will be headline speaker at the Pragmatic Solutions to Care Event and will join a range of industry professionals who will aim to answer, educate and investigate what good care looks like and how do we look after carers and how do we protect those who need care?
- What inspired you to be part of the Pragmatic Care event?
It all started last year when I was asked the question – “how do we achieve parity between social and health care?” Government funding and political attention is typically focused on the NHS, leaving the social care sector in a financially precarious position. Without adequate social care services, the NHS struggles to function effectively. To improve the health and well-being of our citizens, we need to see social care and health as equal partners in an integrated system, which is understood by the public and easy to navigate.
- How does your job/role interact/cooperate with the care industry?
Being the CEO of the UKHCA, my day-to-day activity consists of supporting our members to start up, grow and run their businesses, as well as representing them and the homecare sector more widely – with national and local government; regulators; sector partners and other stakeholders; the media and the public.
We have over 2000 members in the UKHCA, ranging from small local homecare providers with one to four employees, to large national providers with up to 14,000 employees. Some are predominantly state-funded, and others serve mainly self-funded customers. Our members include generalists and specialists, such as providers of complex care, live-in care or housing with care; regulated and unregulated services; start-ups and mature businesses. Different members have different requirements at different stages of their business development, and we cater for a wide variety of needs and interests.
- What are you working on at the moment?
We have identified five strategic themes for focus over the next five years: 1) workforce; 2) financial sustainability; 3) regulation; 4) quality, innovation and best practice; and 5) public perception of homecare. We are working on driving policy change for social care, and shifting public opinion is key to this. Over the last two decades, there have been 12 white papers, green papers and consultations and five independent reviews and commissions, which detail the need for change in social care but little progress has been made.
Our goal is to change the story about social care in the minds of the public and policy makers. Many see social care as a broken system for broken people, viewing those who receive support as objects of pity, without agency. In fact, high quality social care focuses on people’s strengths and enables them to live well and as independently as possible, extending healthy lifespan, enhancing quality of life and saving money for the health and care system.
- What is your speaking topic and what do you want attendees to take from it?
My talk is about safeguarding social care by achieving long-awaited policy change. I’ll be considering whether we need to change the way we communicate about social care with the public and policy makers in order to ensure that funding social care properly becomes an electoral issue.
All profits from the event will be shared equally between the dementia research charity BRACE and Bristol Dementia Action Alliance . To secure your place please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pragmatic-solutions-to-care-problems-what-does-good-care-look-like-how-do-we-look-after-the-carers-tickets-57197431056?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete