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Learning to Dance in the Rain…..

3 September 2018

Seems you couldn’t move this weekend without clips of politicians ‘making shapes’ filling up social media and news feeds – whether in Africa or Brussels – the ‘rhythm’ of politics was very much in the news.

Whilst the quality of the dance may be in question, the ability of dance to hit the headlines cannot be disputed. This has reminded me of the power of music, and I have had popping up in my Facebook feed a song by US country singer Jay Allen entitled ‘Blank Stares’. If you haven’t had a chance to see this, then please do look at this song where Jay sings with huge personal passion a song about his mother, who is living with dementia, and in a particular moving version she joins him on stage for his tribute to her.

Not, of course, the first person to sing about his personal life, but this very public and media facing personal insight into dementia is hugely important and helpful in getting the public to understand and connect to the key figures on future demand for care which were released by University of Newcastle at the end of last week.

Members will have seen the headlines on Friday reporting on research in the Lancet, carried out by the University of Newcastle and the London School of Economics and Political Studies. This provided, once more, an analysis of the changing demographics, predicting the doubling of over 85’s by 2035, and the consequent pressure on health and care as people continue to age with complex co morbidities.

Full access to the research can be found here. The research is hugely valuable, breaking down the specific groups and their needs, but in terms of planning for the future of both workforce and models of care, I thought these findings were extremely relevant:-

“Between 2015 and 2025, the composition of the older population with substantial dependency will change markedly; numbers of older adults with dementia alone will reduce by 31·1%, then remain stable up to 2035, whereas numbers of those with dementia and two or more other comorbidities will more than double by 2025 and then increase further by 2035. Thus, by 2035, 81·2% of substantially dependent older adults with dementia will also have two or more other conditions, compared with 58·8% in 2015.” 

Our ability to sustain the health and care needs of this growing population are called into question once again. Research released last week by Age UK commented on the government in England’s current commitment to long term care compared to a range of International  counterparts.

The Incisive Health report ‘An international comparison of long-term care funding and outcomes: insights for the social care green paper’ set out to explore key characteristics and outcomes of the social care systems operating in some other advanced nations, with a view to seeing what lessons could be learned and potentially applied here in England. The other countries were Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Japan. Whilst none of the country’s has all the answers, it is clear that for others, the agenda for reform has been long understood, and critically of course, acted upon.

Brexit ‘No Deal’– Guidance of social care?

On the 24th August, the government produced 24 bits of technical guidance to support businesses to prepare for a Brexit ‘No-Deal’. The full details of the announcement can be found here.

Whilst there is nothing in this guidance specifically directed at social care as a sector, there are a number of the notices will of course have relevance to all employers – including social care. These include the Workplace rights EU Funded programmes of work, which will have relevance for members engaged in existing EU programmes through research, economic development etc…

This is the starting point for notices, and many more are anticipated over the coming months. There are many things we need answers on in order to plan effectively, including large scale concerns about medication regulation and supply, food availability and the availability of equipment – never mind the well discussed concerns around the continued vital supply of caring and nursing staff provided by EU nationals. 

This blog from Andrew Cozens gives a neat overview of some of these wider concerns 'Brexit uncertainty threatens social care on multiple fronts' | Opinion | Local Government Chronicle

As Autumn approaches and the storm clouds of the next six months hang over us, we have a Green Paper in our sights and social care must make sure that rather than wait for those storms to pass, we too will need to show that we can learn to dance (in the rain!).

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