Technology is already recognised as a key element of a fit-for-purpose health and care system – and this applies as much to supporting the workforce directly as it does to new treatments and interventions.
Workforce burnout and the need to promote resilience in the NHS and social care are pressing issues for everyone in the sector .
This week the Commons Health and Social Care Committee set out their recommendations on tackling those issues after taking evidence from experts and stakeholders over the last few months.
True it’s yet another report telling us about issues that have been highlighted for some years – understaffing, lack of funding (notably in social care), exhausted staff – all made worse by the pandemic.
But at least the Committee are drawing attention to problems that seem to have become almost background noise to policymakers. The report lays bare to those in power that we just can’t continue as we are.
A burnt-out workforce cannot deliver high quality care – and the goodwill from staff that the service depends on is now in very short supply indeed. There are a number of key issues to consider, including leadership, wellbeing, digital transformation, technology, new ways of working, and data.
Fixing this problem lies partly with government but health and social care leaders will bear the brunt of implementing change. Leaders at all levels have been working tirelessly during the pandemic. They must be able to access support to recuperate and to build and retain resilience as we begin to exit the pandemic. This is so that they can help and support staff through the demanding next phase now facing health and social care staff generally.
We need a culture across the health and social care system that supports and encourages responsible leadership – and it is within the gift of policy makers to set that context.
At Future Care Capital we also want to see more attention paid to the role digital transformation and technology can play across health and social care in supporting leaders and teams deal with short-term capacity and skills issues.
There was no mention of this in the Select Committee report and this seems to be a real omission to me. Technology is already recognised as being a key element of a fit-for-purpose health and care system for the future – and this applies as much to supporting the workforce directly as it does to new treatments and interventions.
Also, while not all NHS and social care staff have been able to work from home (like many other employees during the pandemic), how can we use the learning from new ways of working during the pandemic to support health and social care staff?
Back in February Future Care Capital’s Care Tech Landscape Review set out a range of measures to enable higher quality care through the use of technology.
Technology can reduce pressure on health and social care staff by enabling them to do elements of their jobs in a different way, both in and away from a clinical or care setting.
There is also the issue of data, in particular the lack of social care datasets. Without proper, accurate data captured across the sector, how can we have a clear picture to ensure that organisations and leaders (and the ‘system’) can support staff around their mental health and well-being? This is a key part of being able to cope with current, ongoing and future pressures.
As the Select Committee report made clear, there is a lot of work to be done, and that work needs to start right away. We also still await news on when we can expect the government to publish its much anticipated adult social care reforms to realise the Prime Minister’s promise to finally ‘fix social care’. The clock is ticking…
House of Commons – Health and Social Care Committee