Health Plus Care 2018 – The Insequa Report
Health Plus Care 2018 took place in London last week. It’s the biggest event in Europe where the two worlds of health and social care get to mingle in an increasingly close-up and personal way. It was a sweltering couple of days outside, but inside the chilled halls at the Excel Centre in Docklands the serious business of learning and networking was taking place.
Echoing the real world, the integration agenda at Health Plus Care galloped along in a seemingly unstoppable race towards a mutual, happy equilibrium. It seems that only (the now erstwhile – events move faster than blogs!) Jeremy Hunt hasn’t joined the party – all eyes, ears and hopes rest on the delivery of a sensible, workable and kind set of solutions to social care’s problems in the delayed Green Paper in Autumn. So, no Health and Social Care Minister at Health Plus Care, but there were plenty of excellent speakers to wow the delegates and charm the hoards in the various theatres and break out spaces.
We don’t have space or time to cover everything, so here’s a distillation of things that caught our eye. As we are the social care experts, I’ve focused on areas that relate to that sector.
Staff recruitment and retention
It’s a recurring theme in social care because it is such a BIG PROBLEM. In our role as tender writers for social care, we often speak with care providers whose ambitions to grow their business are stifled by an inability to recruit staff. This damaging problem was being tackled by Sophie Coulthard from The Judgement Index and Neil Eastwood from Sticky People.
As well as being the brains behind the fabulous Road to Outstanding podcast Sophie is an exponent of recruiting people based on their values – putting values at the top of the CV when recruiting people. Her very well attended presentation extolled the importance of a well-defined and recognised career progression for carers and a focus on staff wellbeing. If you haven’t experienced the Judgement Index yet, we highly recommend it.
Neil Eastwood is gaining himself a reputation as the face of recruitment and retention for social care provision. His approach is practical, dynamic and no nonsense, supporting care providers to make the best hiring choices for everyone. Turning recruitment into a fun and less stressful task is garnering his company, Sticky People, the attention in the sector they deserve. The masterclasses at Health Plus Care were standing room only and there was a real buzz in the room. Indeed, keep checking our site because Neil has agreed to do a guest blog for us soon. Watch this space for fresh, innovative approaches to social care staff recruitment headaches.
The big guns
We got really excited when Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission came to visit our stand. Being a regular Twitter user, she had spotted the Insequa Twitter feed and decided to seek us out- (she may also have spotted the crafty #SAFC we added to our tweets, knowing she’s a Sunderland AFC supporter.) She was interested in what we were doing and very encouraging and positive in general.
Andrea’s presentation was the highlight of the Thursday programme – sharing a stage with Paul Burstow from SCIE, Izzi Secombe Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Aidan Kehoe of Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust and Michael Adamson from the Red Cross. This presentation featured more talk about the Green Paper and a general consensus that more money was required, and that funds needed to be targeted intelligently. The integration of health and social care is a concept agreed to be beneficial, but there remained concern social care is still being treated as the poor relation, receiving crumbs from the NHS table. Our ears also pricked up here at Insequa when there was mention that the Green Paper may include changes to the way Local Authorities conduct the commissioning process, with the CQC having input on how this might transpire. As the leading tender writers for social care in the UK, we will be watching developments with interest.
Ms Sutcliffe’s talk focused on the importance of strong leadership and how it impacts positively on outcomes for service users. She highlighted the 3% of care services currently rated as Outstanding and stated the leading reason for achieving this accolade was in the category of Caring. She stated that the key to outstanding was ‘genuinely giving people a voice’.
Insequa Director Bill Watson delivered a talk entitled Five Easy Steps to Fixing the Social Care crisis. Clearly a tongue in cheek label, this talk covered a broad sweep of serious and well-argued initiatives that we will be revisiting in future blogs.
Another general theme we picked up on over the two days was the clear shift towards digital solutions across the sector. Whether it’s through rostering systems, compliance software, care planning, assistive tech or other forms of innovation such as AI or Virtual Reality for use in care homes, the social care sector has definitely entered the digital age. We see through our tender writing work that innovation and service improvements through digital means are very much on the wish-list of commissioners under pressure to save money through greater efficiencies.
Brexit proved a hot topic at Health Plus Care, with a lot of hand-wringing over the uncertainty it will bring. The impact it has already had on recruitment is well documented, and it remains to be seen whether the downward trajectory of applicants from abroad will continue.
So, to conclude, Health Plus Care 2018 was a great success and we have already booked our place for next year. Will you be attending? Put the dates in your diary now so you don’t miss out on the best event for social care providers on the calendar – 26thand 27thJune 2019. See you there!