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What is in store for Social Work, Social Care and Health in 2013?


wishlist-for-20132012 has been an eventful year for social care, social work and health as each of these sectors saw significant changes in policy and legislation ranging from the so called welfare to workfare policy, to implementation of Munro’s much awaited recommendations, to establishment of new commissioning system and the local Health and Wellbeing Boards.  Reflecting back, three policy threads seem most evident:

  1. Increasing emphasis on engagement of private sector in delivery of public services;
  2. Increasing Localisation;
  3. Increasing emphasis and debate regarding individual vis-à-vis social and government responsibility.

In fact, weekly debates on Guardian Local Government and Public Leaders Networks were quite timely and indicative of the prevailing concerns ranging from the “Cost of transformation” to “How can we work together to save social care?

It seems social challenges are on the increase, in fact, in December 2012, it was reported that three new food banks open every week in the UK. Trussell Trust said it expected to feed 15,000 people over the Christmas fortnight alone, almost double the number last Christmas. While a report published by the Bank of England in December showed that “…3.6 million households – 14% of the total – now spend more than a quarter of their income on debt repayment, including mortgage costs. The Bank also says that up to 1.4 million households (12% of those with mortgages) are in special measures with their bank, having asked for temporary deals from their lenders.” Source: Guardian

This trends seem to persist in 2013, with some commentators stating that “A fixation with business jargon and targets rather than basic morality has created a generation of nurses, social workers and carers almost incapable of stopping abuse, an expert overhauling their training has warned.” See “Targets and jargon ‘prevent generation of nurses stopping abuse’

It seems no longer a question of  whether social care and healthcare need saving, but, a decisive focus on transforming and “saving” these “broken systems”.

Therefore, in our first debate for 2013 we wish to examine some of the following questions:

  1. What is on your wish list for social work, nursing, social care, and healthcare in 2013?
  2. Are these professions now reduced to “broken” systems in dire need of change and transformation?
  3. What has worked before and can/should be expanded upon?
  4. What has not worked well and why? How should it be remedied, “fixed”, or revised?
  5. What are some of the changes and/or improvement to organisations, systems, and services that you would like to see?
  6. Have practitioners and carers become “incapable of stopping abuse”?
  7. What is the root of the problem: systems, procedures, practitioners, academics, researchers, policy makers, the government, users of services, or some/all of the above?
  8. What are the changes that need to take place and who should pay for them?

We look forward to your views, experiences, and insights as we explore these and other relevant questions in @SWSCmedia Twitter debate on 8 January at 8:00 PM GMT / 3:00 PM EST.

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