By Fred Lloyd George
It is good news that social care is at the forefront of political agendas. Regardless of the details surrounding the reform announced by Boris Johnson last week, and the means to pay for it, the drive to ‘solve’ systemic issues with the way care is provided in the community and it’s interlinking with health and the NHS has opened up conversation and highlighted the dedication of hardworking carers.
It is interesting that the social care sector, as well as welcoming the investment and potential reforms, have shown concern over how carers will be treated and supported through the new levy. With the government focusing very much on interoperability with health, and digitising patient journeys to streamline and reduce costs, there is a feeling that there will be a step back from person centred care with an emphasis on efficiency over quality delivery.
What does that look like in practice? Rather than investing money in improved training and support for carers that ensures we have a standard for delivery across the sector, money will be invested into schemes, such as remote monitoring, to prevent care being required for as long as possible. So although clients will have the ongoing support of an Amazon Echo, rather than a 30 minute visit, there is the potential for a loss of training and experience for junior carers.
This lack of experience has the potential to put a pressure and premium on more expert live-in carers, as less people are able to take on the more complex tasks. So although costs are reduced earlier in the care journey through the absence of a person providing care, there is a premium on higher trained live-in carers when the needs are more acute.
At Hamilton George we spend a lot of our time meeting with and interviewing great carers who have had many different journeys into care but all have completed training, such as the Care Certificate, and have had experience in residential or home care environments. There is an underlying drive to provide great support to clients that differentiates them from carers in other parts of the social care system. To ensure we have great, person centred carers wanting to work in long term care, there needs to be investment in their training and progressions and I hope money is put aside from our levy to support this.