By Debbie le Quesne

Care and remaining ‘optimistic about the perfect storm’

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Love it or hate it, The Guardian probably offers some of the best coverage on social care issues.

My only frustration is that is seen as a “leftie” publication, and while true in some instances, many of its reports focusing on care are much less political than myself forever beating the drum of ‘better fees for care providers, please.’

Today, online, there’s a realistic snapshot of community care issues. It tables a way ahead, the frustrations of the present and offers some frank comments on how social care needs to change.

Under Chatham House rules, where comments are allowed to be reported but without attribution, the paper in collaboration with CapacityGRID – a platform enabling councils to share resources and knowledge – brought together a group of senior social care figures to debate the thorny issue of developing care in an economic hole with little or no light at the end.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services reports that in the three years to March 2014, £2.68bn – or about a fifth of the total funding budget – will have been cut from adult social care.

The debate touches on the eligibility criteria, dementia, complex needs, preventative actions, strivers or scroungers, the shadow of the Poor Law, relationships with the NHS and much more.

One thing that really caught my attention was: “The hospitality industry is far better [than us] at motivating low-paid staff.”

Maybe that is true, but motivation in my circle is not lacking.

The article, see www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2013/nov/27/role-families-social-care concludes . . .”But despite the tough times ahead in implementing deep spending cuts, the panel was energised by the prospect of building a care system focused on enabling people to live fulfilling, independent lives.

“The difficulties and risks are immense, but so are the possibilities. As one panelist put it: ‘I’m optimistic about the perfect storm’.”

If you get five minutes, read this piece. It’s not conclusive or academic, but some of the quotes in this are enlightening, or perhaps frightening. You decide.

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