‘Fix What We Can Fix’ – A Way Forward for Social Care Commissioning
We now have a Department of Health AND Social Care. Other than the name, what, if anything, has changed?
On one level you could say ‘not much.’ The department already had policy responsibility for social care. The Department of Communities and Local Government retains funding responsibility and local authorities will still be responsible for the bulk of adult social care commissioning.
In his expanded role, Jeremy Hunt will be responsible for the coming Social Care Green Paper and the public consultation that will follow. There are plenty of questions about what the green paper will contain. Will there be a national social care service? Will there be a coherent answer to the question of long-term funding? We’ll have to wait and see.
The other question is whether the formal combining of responsibilities will bring fully coordinated health and care services any closer, or do anything significant about the fragmented care provision for older people?
How Long Will Change Take?
One thing we know is that change won’t come quickly. A green paper in the summer, 3-6 months of consultation, a white paper, and then the possibly lengthy process of drafting and passing legislation. It will be years before changes are experienced ‘on the ground.’
In the meantime we have a crisis. Solutions will not be developed and imposed centrally. Commissioners, care providers and other partners need to find local solutions that make the care system work better for local communities and deliver more value.
‘Fix the parts of the system we can fix,’ should maybe be the mantra.
In many areas, the processes that broker care packages and monitor contract delivery contribute to rising costs through reliance on spot contracts. They also do nothing to reduce delayed transfers.
The Webformed eBrokerage platform is a proven solution being deployed by commissioners. It streamlines a critical part of the process and frees staff to concentrate on assessing local needs and improving quality. It also provides a cloud based environment through which health and care services can collaborate and communicate.
It’s also a solution that can be up and running within weeks. Which is a good deal quicker than any initiatives that might come from the new Department of Health and Social Care.
Want to see eBrokerage of care in action? Contact Richard Bedford or Josh Rowan on 01626 798890
photo: Tenger at Japanese Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons