Service deliveryAdult Social CareDigital engagement platform launched for heath and care staff

Digital engagement platform launched for heath and care staff

Social care workforce invited to provide feedback via new website portal

A major digital engagement exercise has been launched to encourage health and care staff from across the UK and multiple different service providers to post ideas, questions and challenges on a new digital platform.

Labelled by the Department of Health and Social Care as the “biggest health and social care conversation in British history”, the digital platform is called TalkHealthandCare and enables staff to “quickly and easily” build two-way dialogue.

In a speech to staff at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said: “Like the best organisations, I want to start an open-ended, two-way, frank conversation.

“Today marks the start of that dialogue. A real conversation. And, like a true conversation, it will evolve based on what you say, what you think, and on the changing world of health and care. I want us to be realistic yet ambitious in what we can change for the better. And I want this exercise to reflect the real-time concerns and ambitions of the workforce, rather than take a snapshot of how you feel at one point in time.”

Hancock referenced his passion for technology in his speech, commenting that, “technology isn’t just important in delivering better health and care, but can be a powerful tool for engagement. So, we’re launching our new platform, TalkHealthandCare”.

He went on to add: “This is about giving you a voice in the day-to-day creation of policy in government, and giving you somewhere to go with your ideas and questions, somewhere for you to challenge us and, equally, for us to ask something of you. Because, if the culture in health and care is really going to change, it will take all of us, working together, to make it happen.”

Five key challenges

The new engagement platform will be kicked off by five challenges. Each will be explored in depth – inviting health and care professionals to share stories and ideas. That feedback, according to Hancock, will be read and feedback returned. “We’ll set out what we’ve learned from you and what we’re going to do about it and – in case you’re interested – we’ll let you know what I’ve been up to, and I’ll share some of my personal reflections on the process,” he added.

The five challenges are:

  • Staff are equipped to do their job: getting the basics right
  • Staff feel safe and secure: working without fear of bullying, discrimination or violence
  • Staff feel included and valued: belonging to an organisation that respects and values everyone’s contribution
  • Staff are developed: having access to the training, development and support staff need
  • Staff feel empowered: achieving their full potential

Vital support

Responding to the national engagement exercise, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Social care staff, as well as NHS staff, go above and beyond in their roles day after day and it is vital that we support them in their demanding work to provide high quality care.

“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.

“This engagement exercise follows the public debate we are leading on how to provide a long-term solution to funding adult social care to rescue a system at breaking point due to years of underfunding, rising demand and costs for care and support.

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

“Action is needed, which is why, following the Government’s postponement of its long-awaited green paper on adult social care, the LGA has published its own green paper to drive forward the public debate on what sort of care and support we need to improve people’s wellbeing and independence and, crucially, how we fund these vital services.”

The LGA’s green paper consultation, which runs until 26 September, is available here.

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