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Jeremy Cooper

ADASS Spring Seminar: Key themes and reflections

adass spring seminar

I have just spent an inspiring three days with 200 social care and health sector leaders at the ADASS Spring Seminar.

Throughout the event there was an eagerness for, and high quality of, debate. At iMPOWER’s workshop, the standard of insight and discussions was impressive as we ran an exercise on shaping a programme to deliver sustainable adult social care through demand-led change. The fact that it was the only over-subscribed session showed the keenness of delegates to share and discuss ideas and solutions.

In and amongst all the discussions, there were three key themes that jumped out for me during the conference:

  1. Our shared task to increase public and political focus on social care: Clara Swinson, Director of adult social care policy at Department of Health, encouraged us to focus on innovation, collaboration and form an alliance over the democratic and public debate on social care – “don’t hold back” she said. Harold Bodmer, in his fantastic speech as the new President of ADASS, reinforced this by identifying the need for – and committing to – leading the “rolling out of the social care movement”.
  2. A commitment to – and realism – over integration: Rob Webster, NHS Confederation Chief Executive reminded us that “we are not regulated or funded to work in a system, but to work in an organisation”. Ester Sarquella from the Catalan Government’s Integrated Health and Care programme shared the insight that had made a difference in Catalonia: only 57% of the complex clients identified by GPs actually had serious health issues. The combination of data and professional judgement was a great example of the benefits of health and care integration.
  3. The centrality of workforce and cultural change: Professor John Bolton shared from his latest research that of the 7-9% efficiencies from integrated working he had identified; the single biggest issues were NHS decision-making. Dame Moira Gibb, Chair of Skills for Care, incited us to “have an obsession with the front line” when thinking about the importance of workforce and patient perspective.

iMPOWER is working with councils across the country to design and deliver sustainable adult social care models that reduce demand and improve outcomes. It was evident at the Spring Seminar that we can all be better at sharing stories of what’s working so I look forward to sharing the insights from these projects over the coming months. As ever, events like ADASS are a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve still got to go.

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