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27.11.17

‘Quality matters’ in adult social care

The work of social care is on everyone’s agenda. You see it mentioned in reports, on the front pages of mainstream newspapers, as well as in speeches from ministers. The main question that everyone is asking is, how can we improve services for those who need them the most? The answer is something we’re all working towards, argues Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE.

We know bringing together health and social care will help ensure delivery of effective and efficient care, and help support implementation of the Five Year Forward View. A recent report by the charity Age UK found that the funds transferred from the NHS to social care grew from 2% in 2006-7 to 16% in 2015-16. This reflects the growth in the social care sector identified by Skills for Care, which found more than 20,300 organisations are now providing care, with a workforce of 1.55 million. As the system grows and with a number of challenges ahead of us, it’s hugely important that both social care and the NHS work together more effectively, building a good relationship. This is being supported by the development of sustainability and transformation partnerships, which bring organisations together to focus on the needs of the local population.

By working together we can make a real difference. Adult social care can positively transform people’s lives. We know that people’s experience of care is not isolated – it’s integrated across many different health and social care services. As such it’s important to have a shared commitment for everyone who uses, works in or supports adult social care – and so Quality Matters was developed.

The quality of services delivered in social care really matters. People who access services should expect to receive care that is safe, effective, caring and responsive. These are the fundamental tenets of the Quality Matters framework, very much aligned to the NHS approach set out in ‘A Shared Commitment to Quality.’ NICE worked with more than 100 people, organisations and national bodies to support development of the Quality Matters document. This illustrates how a combined approach can help support quality improvement in social care – no single person or organisation can own such commitment. We will only be able to deliver high-quality care through continued collaboration.

As an organisation, NICE sets standards for social care to support high-quality care being delivered across the country. Our work is ongoing, and so far we’ve developed:

We know that adults’ care needs are rising. Adults with long-term and multiple health conditions and disabilities are living longer. The number of adults aged 85 or over (the age group most likely to need care) is rising faster than the population as a whole. We also know that local authorities’ total spending has fallen by 8% between 2010-2013 and is projected to continue falling. During these challenging times, our work will have even more significant importance.

So, whilst the above are some areas we’ve developed to support social care, we’ll need to continue looking at ways to help individuals and organisations from across the field build a better system, something we can all be proud of and which aligns with our commitments and values.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
W: www.nice.org.uk
Tw: @NICEComms

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