Last week Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Social Care said that the care system remained fragile and at risk of reaching a tipping point.
Health and social care has been evolving in different ways in each of the Home Nations since devolution but the fundamentals are the same: rising demand, declining state funding, workforce shortages and variation in quality and outcomes.
Together these pressures are forcing a tipping point, but that tipping point can be a moment of opportunity and change too. How do we do care differently in the 21st Century?
I am convinced that technology is an essential component in a new care offer, that just as technology has remade other service sectors it is and will increasingly transform the way we engage citizens with their health and care.
Over the past eighteen months I have been working with TSA Chief Executive, Alyson Scurfield, re-establishing and repositioned the organisation as the go-to partner for technology enabled health and care. Now as TSA’s first President I am excited about the opportunities we have to lead and be part of the solution to the crisis in the NHS and social care.
That means being a passionate but agnostic advocate for the TECs sector. That was my message at last year’s ITEC Conference in Birmingham when we launched our report Putting People First. That report made the case for a new value proposition for the sector, partnering to sell service redesign solutions that deliver end to end support, robust benefits realisation and better outcomes for the end user.
Being recognised as an independent voice for TECs and engaging with Government, NHS and local government commissioners and service providers is critical to the next stage in the sector’s growth.
Quality and co-production are critical to this proposition. The development of a modern outcomes-based quality standards framework (QSF) places the TSA at the forefront of standard setting and audit. Our test-bed sites have demonstrated the efficacy of the model and praised the rigour of the QSF audit.
Over the last year we have been laying the groundwork with the CQC and NHS Digital in England, colleagues at NHS 24 in Scotland and with the Welsh Government for the QSF. It is essential that there is no gap between where industry standards end and statutory regulation begins. Any gap puts quality and safety at risk.
We have also been the leading organisation convening government, regulators, and the sector to think through the implications and opportunities of the shift from analogue to digital when point-to-point telephony based service models will cease to function. How do we add value and functionality, creating new service offerings in the new digital world? Our report will be published at ITEC17.
The convergence of the mobile revolution, cloud computing, analytics and the internet of things is already creating the conditions for the digital reinvention of care. With demand driven by the rise in non-communicable and later life diseases, public funding for social care set to fall below one percent of GDP by 2020 and care workforce shortages set to top 200,000 by 2020, that reinvention is urgent.