By Sophie Coles

The winter months are always challenging for the NHS.  In addition to regular seasonal challenges, A&E waiting times and a lack of doctors and nurses will make this an even more difficult winter for our healthcare system.

Officials are said to be drawing up contingency plans to use the military as paramedics and ambulance drivers, during industrial action.

Social care is also in crisis, owing to high demand, severe staff shortages and limited funding.

A large number of people who are remaining in hospital, due to the lack of available social care, are not medically required to be there. There are also significant numbers of people awaiting provisioning of a care package in the community, who are likely to end up as preventable admissions to hospital, compounding the problem in the NHS.

The whole person care journey needs to be the focus, with all parts of the system working together for the good of the individual. A quantum change in cross-organisational culture is necessary, but also a true understanding of the benefits of viewing the individual through an integrated care lens.

Problems such as delayed discharges, or a lack of community care packages are systemic and as such cannot be solved on organisation-by-organisation basis.  The challenges can no longer be viewed as ‘some other service’s’ issue. The call to action must be “This is a challenge for the whole system – to fix it requires all parts to work together”.

Critical and urgent need for reform

A cap on care costs policy was first mooted in 2011, following a year-long investigation into funding of care and support. This is the second time the care cap has been delayed. It was due to be introduced in 2015 but it was pushed back because of funding and staffing pressures on the care system.  The need for reform in social care is still “critical and urgent”, according to Sir Andrew Dilnot, who first proposed the cap 11 years ago.

The crisis at a glance
  • Social Care is in crisis nationally
  • People over the age of 85 are now the fastest growing demographic group in the UK. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates there are currently 1.5 million people in the UK over the age of 85; by 2050 this will have grown to 5 million.
  • Further challenges include:
  • Delayed discharge and preventable admission figures
  • A chronic shortage of carers
  • Limited funding for Social Care at both a national and local level.
C.Co is here to help

We have developed an innovative approach to creating a long-lasting solution to help alleviate the social care crisis, which is designed to support local authorities to understand, design, implement and embed the Proportionate Care approach in a co-productive manner.

Implementing our new programme, Maximising Proportionate Care, will improve proportionate assessment skills and integrate these into the workforce through dynamic Moving & Handling training. We will utilise our knowledge and experience working with both internal and external staff, along with our extensive engagement experience, to deliver an evidenced-based review based on cost, quality, and benefits. Please contact us if you would like to discuss Maximising Proportionate Care.