interviews

24.10.18

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months, the new president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has suggested.

In an interview with NHE, Professor Andrew Goddard said that the general public “does not really understand” the inner-workings and benefits of the social care sector— despite 1.5 million care staff members working in the UK currently, and 85,000 providers of social care across the country.

On Monday a new report by NHS Providers noted that there are “clear warning signs” that the demand in the coming winter will be even worse for NHS trusts than last year, where many believed the influx in patients made it the most difficult winter on record.

Last week the RCP, alongside several other health faculties and royal colleges, addressed a letter to Philip Hammond, calling on the chancellor to use the autumn budget to invest long-term in adult social car and health services, or “risk the NHS failing to meet demands.”

Prof Goddard noted that social care is the most worrying issue on doctors’ minds currently: “The thing that most doctors are worried about is social care—there was a survey I saw presented at a conference a couple of weeks ago, and 40% of acute medicine consultants’ biggest worry was social care.

“Not having the capacity in social care to get patients out of hospital, which is a really risky environment—hospitals are not good places to be if you don’t need to be there—is one of our big challenges.

“If you talk to the emergency medicine guys, they would say if you could sort out social care then that would make their lives so much easier because it changes the flow in hospitals dramatically.

“One of the solutions to winter is much, much better social care—we tend to focus on hospitals because we can see the hospitals queuing outside, and you don’t really see ambulances queuing up outside nursing homes—it’s not quite as good a picture on the front page of the patients—but perhaps we ought to do that and focus on nursing home care.”

Prof Goddard added that the NHS has a much-beloved identity in the UK, but the general public does not always feel the same way about social care. He suggested that a dedicated social care service would help both promote the value of social care in the general public and also relieve the burden on acute care wards.

“The NHS has an identity doesn’t it, everybody says that the public loves the NHS, but people don’t really love social care in the same way,” said the RCP president, who took over from Professor Dam Jane Dacre last month.

“If there was a national social care service then that might help. There’s a such a wider disparate group. I think the public doesn’t really understand social care—it’s means tested of course, it’s not free at the point of entry, so there are challenges there.

“A national social care service would probably be a good idea. Other nations have tried to bring social care and their health service closer together, I think that’s the idea that’s been proposed with Sustainability Transformation Plans, and certainly the college and I support the move towards that. How you get a higher profile for social care and more support, that’s a challenge of our generation.”

Last week a report by the Public Accounts Committee noted that the government is still “a long way” from achieving an effective strategy for integrated health and social care.

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: RCP

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Struggling Cornwall trust appoints permanent chief executive to lead it out of special measures

18/01/2019Struggling Cornwall trust appoints permanent chief executive to lead it out of special measures

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) has announced that Kate Shields, the current interim chief executive, has been appointed to lead the tr... more >
Bradford hospitals trust fined by CQC after breaching its duty of candour

18/01/2019Bradford hospitals trust fined by CQC after breaching its duty of candour

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS FT (BTH) has been fined by the CQC after failing to apologise to a family in time after a safety incident, breaki... more >
Substantial deficits across NHS ‘do not paint a picture of sustainability’ and threaten long-term plan, warns spending watchdog

18/01/2019Substantial deficits across NHS ‘do not paint a picture of sustainability’ and threaten long-term plan, warns spending watchdog

The NHS is not financially sustainable and substantial deficits at NHS bodies, year-on-year increases in waiting lists and waiting times, and sta... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Gentleness: an underrated quality in effective leadership

14/01/2019Gentleness: an underrated quality in effective leadership

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ returns to write for NHE for his blog series on effective leadership. “It is not in your top three, Dean…” The difficulty in asking for feedback is that sometimes, occasionally,... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Sneak a peek into the world of risk

19/12/2018Sneak a peek into the world of risk

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) asked its members what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they’d share with peop... more >
The NHS Assembly: A moment to reset

19/12/2018The NHS Assembly: A moment to reset

The development of the NHS long-term plan offers a reset moment: a chance to develop a credible, sector-owned blueprint designed to improve care ... more >
NHS Supply Chain: Driving the way forward

19/12/2018NHS Supply Chain: Driving the way forward

Jin Sahota spent two years at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) establishing the future operating model for the new NHS Supply Chai... more >
Leading the way: The Translational Research Collaboration for Mental Health

19/12/2018Leading the way: The Translational Research Collaboration for Mental Health

Professor John Geddes, director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, introduces the new... more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding ... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus

Innovative mobile solution meeting NHS demand

07/01/2019Innovative mobile solution meeting NHS demand

EMS Healthcare report on the first fleet of m... more >
National Health Executive fuels the Northern Powerhouse with official partnership

21/11/2018National Health Executive fuels the Northern Powerhouse with official partnership

Cognitive Publishing, the home of leading hea... more >