Running to stand still

Posted on April 30th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week, in giving evidence to the – wait for it – Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee – Care England’s Professor Martin Green spoke of local authorities and care providers ‘running to stand still’ owing to inadequate resources and the difficulty in recruiting staff.

This put me in mind of a very old chap I regularly see in the town where I live, making his way about with his zimmer frame. His progress is painful to watch; once, while sitting in my car waiting for a friend, I monitored his progress and it took him just under four minutes to cover 40 yards (I paced the distance out later).

I often see him around, in a number of places, so I must assume that wherever it is he wants to go, he gets there eventually. I’ve never seen him resting on a bench or halted in conversation with anybody – he is always determinedly moving forward; he’s not running, but nor is he standing still.

Now, I’m all for discussion and debate – how else should we determine what changes need to be made, or what new directions need to be taken – and we’re doing plenty of that. I’ve heard that, in advance of the Green Paper, the Government has now appointed a ‘citizens board’ to look at how social care might be reformed. But oh, one does get jaded by all the seemingly endless talk. One could wish there was at least a sense of moving forward, however slowly.

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One response to “Running to stand still”

  1. Mat Wills says:

    Agree the time for talking is past. What social care needs (and policymakers probably want) is a reform that can be implemented relatively quickly and make a real difference.

    Social care commissioning and provision networks are very complicated and local government austerity is driven by an agenda that has little to do with the policy area itself.

    These are ‘wicked’ policy problems that policymakers find very hard to address. In Germany, social insurance was an understandable, achievable reform that was arrived at by consensus at a time of wider welfare state retrenchment in a way that minimised the need for institutional change.

    It pooled risk, encouraged investment, reduced funding pressure on local government and could be configured (public/private, defined benefit / contribution, fiscally progressive / neutral) to build a cross-party consensus … we should consider a similar approach here.

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