I always remember being told that life goes fast once you leave school, but this year seems to have flown by quicker than ever. Perhaps it’s because we all made sure we had things in our diaries and to make the most of life coming out of the pandemic, or perhaps we’re all just busier than ever and it’s a sign that we need to slow down! This week, I look back at some of the highlights of 2022 and what I hope to see in 2023.
This campaign changed the way I manage learning disability services and medication management. It’s ensured that my staff know they have a voice and to use it to ensure the people we support receive the right care and the right time.
It was fantastic to see it passed into law in May 2022 and at the end of this year in November seeing the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability of Autism being launched across both health and social care services.
This is a huge step forward for the sector and more importantly for people living with a learning disability and/or autism. However, I’d love to see it go further and for it to be rolled out across schools, colleges, retail, hospitality etc (like we’ve seen with the Dementia Friends initiative), so that wider society has a better understanding and level or awareness.
This announcement was one of the biggest changes in health and social care in a decade, aimed at ensuring people benefit from more joined up care. We saw the introduction of Integrated Care Systems across the country which bought together NHS, local government and wider system partners to collaborate for delivering better outcomes and services for local people.
As we move into 2023, I’d love to see social care firmly involved in the Integrated Care Systems to ensure that we have a voice and to support the overarching aim of delivering better services and outcomes for people.
In July 2022, we heard from the Care Quality Commission about their new Single Assessment Framework. This looks to use a new digital platform to integrate and utilise data for decision making, introducing focused inspections, evolving the ratings of care services to reflect how people experience care and to make it easier for providers to work more closely with the regulator amongst many other changes. However, it’s been announced that this will be postponed until the end of 2023.
In 2023, I really hope that the regulator embeds some of their framework earlier than projected, including some of the changes to the way we write care plans. When they announced their new framework the CQC stated, "We want everyone we work with to benefit from our regulation." Speaking to many providers, there’s a resounding push to build stronger relationships with inspectors and the regulatory body, but many have reported this approach hasn’t been reciprocated.
In October 2022, we saw the Skills for Care report. This revealed a reduction in the number of new people starting within the sector, with an increase in the number of vacancies. We also heard how care workers are still one of the lowest paid roles in society.
In 2023, I really hope that our government pull their socks up and prioritise social care. The demand for social care is increasing every day alongside unmet needs, and the sector is at tipping point. We need to see all social care staff valued and hourly rates of our frontline teams increased, alongside better working conditions and hours to attract new people into the sector, as well as retaining the workforce we already have.
I was absolutely heartbroken to hear from Rights for Residents for the third year in a row about how some relatives are unable to visit their loved ones in care homes due to the protocols and guidance they have in place. In 2023, I really hope local authorities, the regulator (CQC), Public Health England and the government collaborate to review care home guidance and ensure that all care homes open their doors to visitors and loved ones.
It’s been great to connect with so many people working in the sector who have related to my blogs and posts around mental health and wellbeing, who’ve taken steps to ensure they protect and promote theirs and that of their teams. I hope this continues into and throughout 2023, as we need to ensure that we all have a good work-life balance, that our workplaces shift to accommodate and support mental health and that we all prioritise our wellbeing as we become more aware and informed of the importance and risks if we don’t.
I’m thankful to still be able to use my experiences and voice to build awareness, support others and continue to campaign for changes. Writing for Log My Care has been a great way to connect with colleagues across both health and social care settings and it’s been humbling hearing how my blogs have supported you and your teams.
I’m proud of what my chat show, The Caring View has achieved this year. Myself and my co-host Adam have presented 43 shows and 5 live events this year, alongside rolling our new podcast, website and suite of documents to support managers, providers and staff social care and to help raise awareness of this amazing sector.
I won the Best Care Communication Resource this year for the Health and Social Care Club, which I co-founded two years ago alongside Tobi, Paul and Sangha. It’s been great to provide some amazing audio events with tangible tips to takeaway and put back into your services and teams.
I truly hope this time next year, I’ll still have my voice and be able to support others and raise awareness – although I know that a lot of this wouldn’t be possible without the support of my friends and colleagues across the sector.
Thank you to those that read my blogs, interacted with my social media posts and inspired me to continue writing.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2023!
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