Hancock solicits staff views on care policy

10 Sep 18

A major consultation to woo “undervalued” health and social care workers is to be unveiled today.

Health secretary Matt Hancock will pledge to “renew [the government’s] relationship with health and care staff” as he details plans enabling them to speak out about services.

The consultation will aim to give all 3.1 million health and care staff in England a voice in the creation of policy, according to Hancock.

In a speech at Southmead Hospital, he will say that health and social care workers must be “valued, supported and developed”.

“But too often health and care employers, despite the NHS being the world’s fifth largest employer, don’t get this right.

“It is time to renew our relationship with health and social care staff and hear what they really have to say about the jobs that are at the heart of this country.”

As part of the exercise, a new digital platform called ‘TalkHealthandCare’ is to be launched enabling staff to share their views and concerns on phones and tablets.

There will also be several events, forums and webinars where staff can speak out.

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said: “More people work in social care than the NHS, and every minute of every day front line staff make a distinctive, valued and personal contribution to more than a million lives.

“Social care staff deserve recognition and reward for the vital work they do helping to meet people’s needs and enhance their quality of life.

“We encourage as many people as possible to engage in this consultation to help provide better care for everyone who needs it.”

In August, a charity found that England was falling behind other countries in its social care policies. 

The ‘TalkHealthandCare’ platform will seek views on improving shift patterns, balancing home and work lives, and the use of new technologies.

Ian Hudspeth, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “The social care workforce often feels undervalued, both in general but also in comparison with their NHS colleagues, and we hope this consultation will signal a move from the secretary of state to change that.

“There is a pressing need to bridge a £3.5bn funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 just to maintain existing standards of care.”

Last week, Hancock announced an extra £200m to enable the NHS to expand its digital capabilities.

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