We’ve had weeks of debate and uncertainty about the direction of the Government’s NHS reform programme but the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday 7 June has given us a much clearer idea of how the new health service landscape will impact on older people.
It’s been a real concern that the competition agenda within the NHS would imperil the joining up of health and social care. The prospect of elements of preventative care services being divided up amongst a range of new and different providers worried many of us, given the longstanding failure to join up care in large parts of the country. The fact that the regulator, Monitor, will now be given a duty to promote collaboration within health and social care is a welcome safeguard.
Getting the health service to sit down and plan services with local government is such a big task that it must not undercut in any way by other dynamics within the system. The reality is that whilst in some parts of the country there are integrated services – such as support that helps settle older people back in their homes after hospital stays and that seek to intercept potential health and well-being problems when people are in the community, in many other places commissioners are only just on the starting blocks. This isn’t a matter of bad faith amongst those concerned but older people continually say that they need to see action on this.
WRVS now wants to see a new wave of integrated services come into being that can be lighthouses for commissioners in other parts of the country. We’ve shown this week with the Frontier Economics report, that the case for investing in these type of services is strong from the perspective of the taxpayer, families and volunteers.
Wednesday 1 June sees the start of this year’s National Volunteers Week. What better time for us to say a huge thank you to all of the wonderful WRVS volunteers in England, Scotland and Wales who give their time help make Britain a great place to grow old.
Every day our volunteers provide a wide variety of services to older people, from delivering a nutritious meal or much appreciated library books to shopping and transport services. And that’s not all they also provide services in hospitals from welcoming and guiding to retail and catering. There is so much going on and with more of us living to a grand old age there is always more that we can do.
So thanks to you all for the time that you give in your local community. Without your fantastic efforts life could be so much more difficult for older people everywhere. Thanks to you WRVS is a trusted national charity which is recognised as being personal, practical, positive and professional.
Not involved yet? If you are not already a WRVS volunteer and would like to get involved we have great news for you. We are expanding our services across England, Scotland and Wales so there will be even more varied and exciting opportunities for volunteers. It’s a good opportunity to meet new people, gain new skills or use the ones you already have to help other people and its fun!
Posted by Chris Dobson, Head of Volunteering