Notes from Caring UK Care Show, Bristol

On a boiling hot day, one very good reason to go to the Caring UK show was the air conditioned interior of the Bristol Pavilion conference suite at the Gloucester cricket ground off Gloucester Rd. Other good reasons were the two key speakers, whose talks are briefly outlined below.

Sue Burn CQC Inspection Manager: Care providers need a ‘critical friend’:

Sue recapped the fundamental standards, quality ratings and the improvement agenda which are the cornerstones of the inspectorate’s policy.

Talking about rating characteristics and what constitutes ‘Outstanding’ and what providers need to do, Sue suggested four critical reflective questions that a care provider should be asking:

  • Do I have a trusted ‘critical friend‘, someone independent who will tell the truth?
  • Are my staff really clear about our vision and our values?
  • Do I have ways in which to encourage and support staff to try out innovative ideas?
  • Do I really know what care users really feel about what it is like here?

What is clear is that these are essentially leadership and management issues and that focusing on professional management, with good processes and independent review and assessment is the only way to garner the ‘outstanding’ accolade.

Nadra Ahmed OBE, Chairman of the National Care Association: Leadership is major issue

Nadra set the scene by outlining how the current care system is a world away from how it was 2 decades ago. Apart from the legal framework and new commissioning practices by local authorities, a key difference is that people in the care system have greater and more complex needs. She recommended that people download and read the Easy Read Guide to the  Care Act.

For Nadra, the main challenges ahead were:

  • Leadership: with workforce a massive challenge, good leaders will attract and retain staff and motivate them to perform.
  • Innovation:In a time of austerity and budget cuts, providers who can provide good care at a reduced price will be those who can innovate
  • Integration: the transfer of budget from health to social care will be essential to resolve the bed-blocking issues in our hospitals. It is important to engage with CCGs and not just Local Authorities
  • Funding: the proposed changes only affect care and not hotel costs; people looking for care will need help and guidance. Good providers will know and understand the funding rules and will be able to advise.

Nadra finished by emphasising that there are opportunities to be had: growing demand, direct payment and different styles of accommodation all offer opportunities to the innovative provider.