Note: Following is a blog post from our guest contributor Beryl who is the Development Manager (South East) at Princess Royal Trust for Carers
I was at the launch event of The Princess Royal Carers Out of Hospital Report yesterday afternoon and….it was really exciting! Sounds an odd thing to say about a formal do but it was exciting because everyone there was determined to take practical steps to put the report into action and to improve support in hospitals for carers.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), represented yesterday by Dr. Peter Carter, fully endorsed the report. He suggested that RCN work together with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers to make the changes that will improve support carers and families receive in hospitals and at discharge.
Carers, carers’ workers and hospital staff were at the launch to tell us about the partnership work they are already doing to change things for the better for carers. In Swindon, for example, the hospital trust have taken a very practical step towards sorting out hospital systems so that carers can be identified and supported.
Jim, who cared for his partner, a patient in Barnet hospital, told us about the difference it had made to him having the support of a hospital based carers worker. Jim made contact with the worker after seeing a poster in the hospital lift. He even called for the better publicity of information about the support available to carers within and beyond the hospital setting: “Aeroplanes should be up there skywriting it!” he said.
Not sure if we can sort out the skywriting but The Princess Royal Trust for Carers will be continuing to work in partnership with the RCN and with hospital trusts, carers’ centres, carers, health commissioners and policy makers to get the word out on supporting carers and families in hospitals and at discharge and on getting that support in place. I’ll report back to you in a couple of months time on how we’re doing. Meanwhile please do feel free to share the Out of Hospital report key messages and statements of support with your local hospital.
I’m Tom and I have been a volunteer at The Trust for the past 3 months. It struck me earlier this week how, during my time working within the Policy and Parliamentary Affairs arena, I have witnessed two vastly different styles of law making by our government.
When I started in September I was immediately immersed in the world of the Big Care Debate, a lengthy consultation on the creation of a National Care Service (NCS). I was involved in lobbying MPs during the Party Conference season and in questioning Department of Health officials over the finer detail of the Green Paper. Another part of my role was to gauge the opinions of carers through events in the network of Carers’ Centres and through our surveys. Much of this process consisted of highly emotive views from carers and fairly belligerent and guarded responses from officials. Whilst many claimed that the government had made its mind up and would not listen to interested parties some progress was made. David Behan recently said that more would have to be more done for carers in the White Paper due to the weight of feedback from carers organisations. The government also backed down over proposals to scrap DLA although they did not go far enough to protect other vital benefits.
More recently the Government has announced the new Personal Care Bill which promises free personal care for those most in need . They say it is a bridge to the creation of the NCS but as this contradicts the Green Paper, it might be said to step on the toes of the National Care Service (NCS), possibly to have something for Labour to sell to the electorate at the next general election. Few would argue with the ideological stance of giving more help to people who need it, but is the process by which it is being rushed through parliament poor?
However, should we care about the process if the end result is of benefit?
And would it not be better to have this legislation in place before the election as the Conservatives have offered little alternative in this area so far?
Although we are yet to see the results of the NCS consultation (the White Paper), the process by which the legislation has evolved will go some way to ensure that the end product is the correct balance of what is possible and what is desirable for the whole electorate. Proper process has allowed the huge volume of differing opinion around the National Care Service to be aired, scrutinised and taken on board. Whilst free personal care for the highest needs is something that should be available, this should be as part of the NCS, not as part of a hastily put together, unscrutinised plan that is partly, at least, about wining votes.
Take care, Tom