The government has announced a change in Department of Health ministerial responsibilities following the reshuffle in the wake of Teresa May's appointment as Prime Minister. Jeremy Hunt remains as Health Secretary, with added responsibility for all aspects of mental health. David Mowat takes over responsibility for adult social care from Alistair Burt as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care. His brief also includes carers, community services, cancer, dementia, learning disabilities and all elements of primary care – including dentistry and pharmacy.
Department of Health ministerial responsibilities
News story: Department of Health ministerial responsibilities
Records management code of practice for health and social care
The Department of Health has published a records management code of practice for health and social care, which sets out standards required for the management of records for organisations who work within, or under contract to the NHS in England.
Guidance: Records management code of practice for health and social care
A new future for social care?
The King's Fund has published the presentations from its 12 July conference entitled 'A new future for social care?'. The conference offered a key opportunity for social care leaders, policy-makers, commissioners, and providers to explore how the sector can respond positively to the challenges now and in the future.
Presentations: A new future for social care? Good practice approaches to meeting care and support needs
Department of Health annual report
The Department of Health has published its annual report and accounts, showing how the department has funded its activities and used its resources in the period 2015 to 2016.
Report: Department of Health annual report and accounts 2015-2016
Impact of the spending review on health and social care
The House of Commons Health Committee has published a report on the impact of the spending review on health and social care. The report suggests that the scale of the funding challenge is colossal and, while spending on health is increasing, the service is under unprecedented strain and struggling to keep pace with relentlessly rising demand.
News story: Spending Review does not meet funding commitment for NHS's vision
Report: Impact of the Spending Review on health and social care First Report of Session 2016–17
NHS funded nursing care rate for 2016 to 2017
The NHS contribution towards the costs of a place in a care home with nursing is being increased on an interim basis from £112 to £156.25 per week. The increase follows an independent review of the rate by Mazars LLP which recommended the rate should rise by 40%. The increase will be backdated to April 2016 for people in receipt of NHS-funded nursing care from that time.
News story: NHS-funded nursing care rate for 2016 to 2017
Vision for adult social work in England
The Department of Health has published a strategic statement for social work with adults in England 2016—2020. This independent report sets out what the Department of Health is doing and will do in the future to raise the standing and status of the social work profession through its continuing reform programme.
Statement: Department of Health strategic statement for social work with adults in England 2016—2020.
Precept fails to close funding gap
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has published the findings of a survey of all 151 adult social services directors in England which reveals that charging residents extra council tax to pay for social care has failed to raise enough money to cover the cost of the new National Living Wage (NLW), let alone address the huge shortfall in funding in the face of increasing demand. The research shows that the precept, introduced in the Autumn Statement 2015 to give councils the option to raise council tax by 2 per cent for adult social care, will generate less than two thirds of the more than £600 million needed to cover the NLW this year. That means that this year, directors are left with a gap to fill of around £940 million just to keep services operating at last year’s levels,
Press release: Council Tax Precept Fails to Close Adult Social Care Funding Gap
Health and social care data security
The Department of Health has published a summary of consultation responses and government conclusions about the role and function of the National Data Guardian. It sets out the main decisions about how the role will be the independent and authoritative voice of patients and service users in relation to how their health and care data is held and used. The response also confirms the government’s commitment to make the role a statutory one as soon as possible.
The Department has also launched a consultation which seeks the views on the proposed data security standards and new consent and opt-outs model for data sharing in the NHS and social care.
Outcome: The role of the National Data Guardian for health and social care
Consultation: New data security standards for health and social care
Mears serve notice over fees
Home care provider Mears has served notice to both Liverpool City and Wirrel councils for offering new rates that would lead to unworkable pay and conditions for care workers. Mears Group has written to officials at both councils to express concern and disappointment at the offered charge rates. Liverpool City Council has made a proposed change to the hourly rate of just £13.10 for home care, while Wirral Council is offering £12.92 - rates that Mears claims are "nothing short of encouragement to providers to breach the National Living Wage". The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), which represents the care industry, recommends that councils pay providers at least £16.70 per hour, and Mears believes that no organisation could legally deliver the care service required at the rate proposed by the councils.
Press release: Notice served on Liverpool City and Wirral councils over unacceptable carer wages
Salford transforms health and social care
Salford City Council has become one of the first councils in the country to completely join-up all its adult social care services with NHS health services and create a new organisation to deliver them. Nearly 450 adult social care staff will transfer from Salford City Council to the new Integrated Care Organisation (ICO), which will be delivered by Salford Royal in the role of ‘prime provider’ for all adult health and social care services. The ICO will also commission for mental health services and will have responsibility for domiciliary and nursing home care. Its primary aim is to improve services to people but it is also anticipated it will deliver around £27m of recurrent savings by 2021, through reducing hospital admissions and eliminating duplications across the health and social care system.
Press release: Historic move transforms Salford's health and social care
Implications of Brexit for health and social care
The King's Fund has published an article which considers five big issues for health and social care after the 'Brexit' vote. The article suggests that the impact of the UK’s vote to leave the EU could have major implications for health and social care, not least because it has ushered in a period of significant economic and political uncertainty at a time when the health and care system is facing huge operational and financial pressures. The King's Fund recognise that the impact on health and social care services of leaving the EU is impossible to forecast, but claim the following five issues will need to be resolved: staffing; accessing treatment here and abroad; regulation; cross border cooperation, and funding and finance.
Article: Five big issues for health and social care after the Brexit vote
UK exit from the EU: briefing for those working with EU migrants
Migration Yorkshire has produced a briefing for local authority services and third sector organisations working with EU migrants following the results of the EU referendum. The briefing, which is available in Czech, English, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak, looks at the rights that EU citizens have in the UK post referendum, whether EU citizens have to do anything to maintain their rights, and hate crime and racial abuse.
Briefing: UK exit from the EU
Using the Mental Capacity Act
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has produced a video on 'Using the Mental Capacity Act'. The video, commissioned by the Department of Health, explains the MCA and how it can protect people's right to make choices. SCIE's Practice Development Manager Hugh Constant explains more about the video in a guest post on the Department of Health's social care blog.
Video: Using the Mental Capacity Act
Blog: Using the Mental Capacity Act to protect people's rights
Delivering integrated health and social care
The King's Fund has published a report which looks at the evidence on new roles and ways of spanning organisational workforce boundaries to deliver integrated health and social care. The report, commissioned by NHS Employers and the Local Government Association, finds increasing focus on roles which facilitate co-ordination and management of care, development of existing roles to increase the skill-mix and enable the provision of more holistic care, and a limited number of truly innovative roles, the most notable being care navigators and community facilitators, enablers or link workers. Given that many of the skills required for integrated care already exist within the workforce, it suggests the central question is how to use those skills more effectively to support boundary-spanning activities.
Report: Supporting integration through new roles and working across boundaries
The Care Quality Commission, in partnership with NHS England, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), has published a new good practice guide on managing care home closures. The guide aims to help minimise the impact on people, and their families and carers, in the event of a care home closing.
Managing care home closures
News story: New care home closures guidance for adult social care partners published
Guidance: Managing care home closures: A good practice guide
Discharging older people from acute hospitals
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report on discharging older people from acute hospitals. The report draws a number of conclusions, including that: there is a poor understanding of the scale and cost of the problem, and unacceptable variation in local performance; the fragility of the adult social care provider market is exacerbating the difficulties; good practice implementation is patchy across areas, and there is a lack of widespread and effective sharing of patient information. The report makes recommendations to address each conclusion, claiming that 'NHS England shows a striking poverty of ambition in believing that holding delays to the current inflated level would be a satisfactory achievement. Patients and the NHS have a right to expect better.'
Report: Discharging older people from acute hospitals
Integrated care for older people
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has reviewed how well different health and care services work together to support the needs of older people in England. In its 'Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers' report, it warns that despite a widespread commitment for integration across the sectors, substantial progress is needed to better support people who use a number of services, reduce hospital admissions and avoid confusion about where to go for help. The report concludes that, with a growing elderly population, now is the time to act.
Press release: Older people denied personalised, effective and responsive care due to poor integration across local systems
Report: Building bridges, breaking barriers
Dealing with difficult conversations
Independent Age has published the findings of research looking at how and why families avoid talking about challenges they may face in older age. The findings reveal the topics that people find most difficult to discuss are their preferences for end of life care, who will care for them when they're older, and where they'd like to live if they could no longer live at home.
Report: We need to talk about caring: dealing with difficult conversations
Health Education England (HEE), in partnership with Skills for Health and Skills for Care, has launched a new Learning Disabilities Core Skills Education and Training Framework to help improve the care that health and social care staff deliver to people with learning disabilities. The framework sets out the core skills and knowledge that are common and transferable across different types of service provision. It also provides guidance and standards for the delivery of training to develop required skills and knowledge, and achieve desired learning outcomes.
New framework to support transformation of care for people with learning disabilities
News story: New framework to support transformation of care for people with learning disabilities
Framework: Learning disabilities core skills education and training framework (PDF, 2.1Mb)
'Must knows' for transforming care
The Local Government Association (LGA) has published 'Transforming care (must knows). The paper aims to ensure that leaders are doing everything they can to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of people of all ages with learning disabilities and/or autism who display behaviour that challenges, including those with a mental health condition. The LGA is one of six national delivery partners supporting the delivery of the Transforming Care programme, which is based on the assumption that children, young people and adults with a learning disability and/or autism with behaviours described as challenging have the right to live satisfying and valued lives, and to be treated with dignity and respect.
Paper: Transforming care (must knows)
How an iPad app transformed an assessment
Community Care has published an article by a social work student which explains how the student used digital technology to involve a young man with Down’s syndrome and a severe learning disability in his assessment in a meaningful way. The article describes how staff at the man's college supported him to use an iPad app that allowed pictures, photos, and Makaton symbols to be added to support communication. Through the use of the app he was able to communicate to the student during his assessment and convey his wishes to work with animals when he left college. The app can now be used as a tool for the young man to use when communicating in other aspects of his life such as shopping.
Article: How an iPad enhanced my social work practice
The Mental Health Foundation has published a report on mental health and prevention, which sets out a road map to bring about a prevention revolution in mental health, delivered in every local area. The Foundation claims the evidence presented in the report should inform the local prevention plans for mental health in every local authority area, should help make sure that these are based on sound evidence and analysis of the key data, and should support effective work in each area to drive down the incidence of mental ill health over the years to come.
Mental health and prevention
Report: Mental health and prevention: taking local action for better mental health
Increased mental health services for those arrested
The Department of Health has announced that an additional £12million will be spent over the next two years to expand services that make mental health assessments available for people when they are first arrested. The money will fund the expanded roll out of liaison and diversion services in police custody suites and criminal courts across England, helping people with mental ill health, learning disabilities or autism get the right care in the right place.
News story: Increased mental health services for those arrested
The Mental Health Foundation has published 'The Amaan Project Resource: Information about mental health and ways to look after your wellbeing'. The resource is designed for and by asylum seeking and refugee women. It aims to help asylum seeking and refugee women to have a better understanding of mental health and ways to help themselves and others.
Resource for asylum seeking and refugee women
Resource: The Amaan Project Resource: Information about mental health and ways to look after your wellbeing
Age UK and Carers UK have published a joint report calling for a fresh approach to support those juggling work and unpaid care. The report suggests that caring for as little as five hours a week can have a significant impact on employment prospects, with those caring for more than 10 hours a week at marked risk of leaving the labour market altogether, costing the economy an estimated £1.3 billion. It examines the challenges and barriers facing carers aged 50+ as they attempt to juggle their caring responsibilities with work, as well as some of the potential solutions. It investigates the stories of 50+ carers, looking at what works – and crucially what’s needed – to improve their employment prospects.
Juggling work and unpaid care
Press release: Caring in later life significantly harms employment prospects
Report: Walking the tightrope: the challenges of combining work and care in later life
Care Act for carers - one year on
The Carers Trust has published the findings of a survey of carers which suggest that, one year on from the introduction of the Care Act, the new law has made little or no difference to the 5.4 million carers in England. The review, led by former care minister Paul Burstow, found a ‘mixed picture’ with examples of good practice, but in many cases found that the act had made no difference to carers. In some instances, carers hadn’t heard about the measures that had been introduced, which could support their needs and well-being as a carer.
Press release: The Care Act - one year on
Report: Care Act for carers - one year on