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By Debbie le Quesne

New Care England a worthy challenger

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I’m sorry to go on again about the new union of the NCA and ECCA, but the possibilities really do excite me.

I’ve been banging the drum for unity and a simplified representation process ever since I heard Sir Digby Jones speak at an association meeting in Birmingham more than a decade ago.

His message was simple: To force the Government to listen, you must present a corporate face. He added, though I cannot remember the exact quote, that as long as the care sector was fragmented no policy-makers would listen.

We have come a long way since then in the way we negotiate with local authorities, but this new Care England body, to be launched on January 1, 2014, will have a combined membership of about 7,500 services based on current numbers and will be a worthy challenger to the Whitehall policy-makers.

What’s more, both organisations represent care home providers and domiciliary care agencies and ECCA includes among its diverse membership some of the largest care providers, such as Barchester Healthcare and HC-One.

The NCA represents a large number of small and medium-sized providers, as well as some children’s homes.

The two chairs, Nadra Ahmed from NCA and Jane Ashcroft from ECCA have said: “Our sector faces a period of considerable challenge which will require robust representation on behalf of our membership. We believe that combining the two string and respected organisations together will strengthen the voice of health and social care and give our membership a wider range of services.”

Yes, yes, yes! Robust representation; a strengthened voice; and a wider range of services for members.

Will West Midland Care Association work with them? You bet we will.

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