By Debbie le Quesne

Care Alliance takes concerns to the DoH

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Along with other representatives of the newly-formed Care Association Alliance I have met with Department of Health officials in Westminster to discuss the pegging of fees with learning disability providers and other industry problems.

It is hoped the talks on the grass-root issues of care provision will foster a future working relationship between government and the Alliance.

With Erica Lockhart from Surrey Care Association, David Smallcombe from Avon and Roger Wharton from Somerset I met with Paul Richardson, Head of Quality and Safety and Karen Dooley, the Policy Lead for Adult and Social Care.

The Alliance was set up last November with a mandate to represent and help local care association support each other.

Key to its aim is a focus to resolve day-to-day issues of care provision and to enhance quality for those in need of it.

The meeting at the DoH headquarters targeted five main issues including the financial restrains driven by government policy and the pegging of fees for four years for those offering learning disability services.

Deprivation of liberty was also on the agenda as the Care Quality Commission has been penalising providers for not having enough DOLS in place. Many local authorities across the UK, unable to keep up with demand, have asked members to prioritise cases and “send through applications gradually” which has added to the regulatory problem.

Misuse of safeguarding orders by some local authorities; the National Skills Academy’s Registered Manager Programme for driving up care standards; and nursing shortages which continue to dog the industry were also discussed.

The Alliance already done a lot of work on the affects of nursing shortages on the care industry and need to ensure we are at the table when discussions are held so we can provide as much pertinent information to the DoH as possible.

In these most recent talks we discussed the sort of information that the associations could gather to feed into the various meetings being held by the DoH in an attempt to impact some of the sector difficulties. It was clearly apparent the DoH is aware of the challenges we face.

There are plans for specific meetings with the DoH with the most appropriate Alliance representatives in the short term and the Alliance has been assured there will be a continued working together as other matters emerge.


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