Recovery: What Next for Health and Social Care?

Our Health and Social Care Coordinator Lynn Williams discusses the current context for health and care, at a critical juncture in policy and service planning. This includes plans to reignite the Voluntary Sector Health and Care Network. 

Voluntary Sector Health Care Network

Who are the Health and Social Care Network, and why now?

The Glasgow Voluntary Sector Health and Social Care Network first met in February 2020, just as the first cases of COVID emerged in Scotland. By re-forming the Network, GCVS now seeks to restart the conversation around adult health and social care policy and delivery, at what is arguably a critical juncture for the sector.

The political and policy profile of adult social care has never been higher. Work is needed to progress a National Care Service, although it’s not entirely clear at this stage what this will look like, or mean, for families. Health and care services are in a fragile state, with the impact of COVID an ever present threat to their stability and sustainability. Meanwhile for many, key services such as Day Centres and day to day care packages have still not fully restarted.

More broadly, the decision to ‘live with COVID’ and consistently high case numbers make a return to a normal life difficult for many families who remain at risk from the virus. The pressure on health and care services is also likely to continue as a result. The likelihood of future COVID waves must also be considered in terms of the recovery and resilience of key services, communities and families.

And all of these factors have real relevance and resonance for the bread and butter, day to day work of the voluntary sector in Glasgow.

The pandemic shone a light on the often life-critical services offered by the voluntary sector in the health and care sphere. Nationally, the Feeley Review acknowledged the contribution of the voluntary sector as a provider of formal care and support services, as well as its broader role in supporting health and wellbeing.

We therefore need to ensure that the voluntary sector is seen as a key partner in both health and care recovery. The expertise of the voluntary sector and of families who may need/use health and care services must be also part of national developments, alongside local reforms such as Maximising Independence and changing NHS care pathways e.g. mental health.

What will the Voluntary Sector Health Care Network do?

With all of this in mind, and with feedback from GCVS members and event attendees, we are restarting the conversation about health and social care in the City.

We want to ensure that our sector has opportunities to collaborate, shape solutions to current challenges, and to influence change both locally and nationally. For instance;

  • The biggest public sector reform for a generation – the National Care Service – could have profound implications for our sector and for the families and communities we work with every day. Should this be a priority for the Network?
  • Recovery for our sector is also important. We too need time to reflect, seek security and sustainability and ensure that the voice of the voluntary sector is being heard.
  • We want a space to raise the issues that affect our sector. We want to highlight our role in health and social care and talk about the challenges faced by organisations and staff as we recover from the pandemic and face increasing demand.

In bringing together a Voluntary Sector HSC network, we can provide a space (virtually for now) for colleagues to come together to hear keynote speakers, influencers and decision makers. Our discussions will ensure that we’re able to contribute to and shape local and national reforms, as well as to challenge and seek changes for adult health and care services which benefit everyone.

How can I get involved?

Recovery in Heath and Care

Join the launch of the Network as part of our first big event of 2022 ‘Recovery of Health and Social Care’ on 14 March.

In advance of this first meeting, please think about what we could focus on as part of this Network. What would be helpful for you to hear, such as:

  • What the HSC network might look like?
  • Priorities and issues you’d like to consider
  • Keynote speakers, meetings which focus on one subject or issues;
  • Exploring specific conditions, groups or health/care services
  • Anything else?

We hope you’re able to come along on the 14th March.  You can access the agenda for this event here – Recovering health and care and relaunch of network agenda 14 March 22 final

Please contact us with ideas for the Network – healthandcare@gcvs.org.uk .

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