Carers’ Week Chaos and Concerns

Lynn reflects on yet another Carers’ Week in the context of a tumultuous General Election.

When I was asked to write this blog for Carers’ Week, I was conscious of the looming General Election. I did some fine-tuning post election on three hours sleep last Friday; still trying to make sense of it all (and not doing very well!).

Here we are then – Carers’ Week. It’s my second as an “official” full time carer – someone who provides 35 hours or more of care for the princely sum of £62.70 a week.

It’s not a landmark I want to celebrate, for a number of reasons.

I miss being in full time work; I miss earning a decent wage and I miss being valued by society. As a “scrounger”, I am deemed to be a leech sucking on taxpayers’ money. That’s what many in the political world would have you believe and yet, carers are essentially a significant, poorly paid public service, which underpins our communities and our economy.

Carers’ Week should be a spur to action – to improve carers’ experience and outcomes and to improve the way we treat disabled people. However, it seems only to elicit the usual platitudes about unsung heroes (my least favourite phrase). For many, Carers’ Week serves to remind us of how little progress has been made; in many ways, we are going backwards. The services and supports we need are not always there; the right services and conditions for our loved ones are eroding fast.

This past year has seen many of my friends and fellow activists fighting local authorities over destitution level care charges and further cuts to crucial care services. I’ve watched families brought to breaking point by a deeply flawed interpretation of legislation, which was meant to transform our broken social care system.

Continued cuts to respite and community support; further benefit reductions and cuts to pupil support all combine to leave families coping with more than most can imagine.  Dealing with constantly challenging behaviour; lack of sleep; learning to use medical equipment; physical lifting and turning; washing; wiping and changing beds are a daily part of our lives – yet public services meant to make life easier often fail to work with us. The facets of good public service, outlined in the work of the Health and Social Care Academy seem quite elusive. Rather than ceding control to families to achieve good outcomes, carers feel that they have no control over their destiny.  Carers’ Week often hides the less sanitary and salutary aspects of caring.

It has also coincided with the fallout from last week’s election – an election marked by chaos and change. Those concepts are not unfamiliar to carers and yet, there is no comfort here.

The result doesn’t help appease my worries for the future. It won’t do much to secure much-needed investment for social care or other services we rely on. It’s also unlikely to shift the debate on the value of unpaid care or the pitiful level of Carers’ Allowance.

Carers are a pretty cynical bunch – we will continue to be cynical as we wind our way through another Carers Week. And we’ll be watching what happens post election – with more than a passing interest!

@Carer49

‘2 Millions Expert Voices’: Listening, Learning and Leading Change

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the ALLIANCE, and to mark the occasion: our annual conference, held in partnership with the Academy will explore how collectively we have can work in partnership achieve greater outcomes for the people of Scotland.

With renewed political energy in Scotland following the 2016 Holyrood election, we’ll look to the future and ways of improving the lives of the two million people across Scotland who are disabled, living with long term conditions and unpaid carers.

Our annual conference will focus on practical ways to hear the voice of lived experience, learn from others about changing support and services for the better and lead from the front in developing new models of care.

Pennie Taylor will chair this event and Cabinet Secretary for Health Wellbeing and Sport will address delegates.

The agenda for the day can be found here.
Attend if you have an interest in improving health and social care in Scotland.

Register your place today by downloading the conference booking form and returning to event@alliance-scotland.org.uk.

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest news in the run-up to the conference, or contribute on the day, please use the hashtag #2MExperts

There are a number of sponsorship opportunities available at the conference.
Please contact the events team for further information on 0141 404 0231 or email event@alliance-scotland.org.uk

Ffion’s Story

Dear Tommy

On Monday the 7th March I talked to the children and teachers at my school in our school assembly, I told them about your work, your lovey mum and your #Tommyontour. I also showed them one for my personalised dementia pledge trees. I have been making these pledge trees for my mummy’s work friends I make a different one for each person, I put their name on it and l do my signature, the person then writes their own pledge on the tree. I hope my trees make a difference to people who live with dementia.

My lovely pops (grandad) had dementia and l would like more people to undgrandaderstand dementia and always be nice to people with it, my pops always put his thumb up when things were OK. He was so kind he would give some of his food to his favourite blackbird the blackbird visited every meal time. My mummy misses pops a lot.

Here is a photo of my mummy with pops his thumb is up.

From, Ffion Age 9 from Shropshire.

To find out more about how to make a pledge visit the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices website

We’re Recruiting for a Development Manager

The Health and Social Care Academy (part of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland) is a dynamic programme of activity designed to support transformation in health and social care. All Academy activities will have innovation and lived experience at its heart.  The Development Manager will lead the Academy’s workplan creating a learning and development space for those engaged in delivering health and social care, and developing funding streams for future work.  Over the last year the First Minister hosted the Academy’s inaugural lecture, the Academy coordinated a think tank of cross sector leaders on creating wellbeing and produced policy papers on delivering new models of care.  This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in developing the scope, profile and future funding of Academy related activity and make a difference to the future of health and social care in Scotland.

We are therefore recruiting for the following new post:

Job Title:      Academy Development Manager
Hours:           Full-time, 35 hours per week
Salary:           in the region of £31,000 per annum, depending on experience
Term:             Fixed term contract till March 2018
Location:      Glasgow city centre

For further information visit the ALLIANCE website

Video: Academy Think Tank

On 27 October 2015, the Health and Social Care Academy hosted a Think Tank on the theme “Creating wellbeing: what is needed to transform Scottish society so that all citizens are able to thrive?” The video below provides an overview of the day and features interviews with some of the contributors.

Thank you to the University of the West of Scotland’s journalism students for this footage.

Can freedom of health and social care data be an effective influence of change in health and social care?

Over the next three weeks (7 – 27 September 2015) the national conversation on creating a healthier Scotland shifts its focus on to the theme of “looking after my health”.  A series of blogs on this theme will appear on the Healthier Scotland website.

Our latest poll considers how people use technology to looking after their own health and how influential the freedom of data about your health and wellbeing could be in the future.

Read More “Can freedom of health and social care data be an effective influence of change in health and social care?”

What more is needed to ensure lived experience is at the heart of integration?

On Wednesday 2nd December, the Academy hosted an event called ‘Putting personal experience at the heart of integration’ as part of our Integration Series. The evening was chaired by Lisa Curtice, Director of the ALLIANCE’s People Powered Health and Wellbeing (PPHW) Programme and featured provocations by David Howie and Linda Jane McLean from the PPHW Reference Group, Louise Christie from the Scottish Recovery Network and Andy Crawford from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Read More “What more is needed to ensure lived experience is at the heart of integration?”

National Conversation on a healthier Scotland – Scottish Borders

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and Scottish Borders Third Sector Interface would like to invite you to a Conversation Café hosted in partnership with the Health and Social Care Academy.

This pop up café will be held in Trieste House, Unit 15, Galabank Business Park, Wilderhaugh, Galashiels, TD1 1PR from 2pm until 4pm on Wednesday 25th November 2015.

The conversation café is an opportunity for citizens to engage with each other and share their views on:

  • What is needed to help you live well in the future?
  • What support do we need in Scotland to live healthier lives?

Following the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement at our recent Citizen Wellbeing Assembly of a National Conversation on creating a healthier Scotland, the café will provide an opportunity for constructive conversations around health and wellbeing which will form part of a dialogue on the future of health and social care in Scotland.

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland is committed to working with Scottish Government to ensure that all voices are heard, especially seldom heard voices and those of people with lived experience. Your views matter and are key to the conversation. This is the first of a series of events across Scotland to give a voice to those who use support and services.

Please help us share details of this event. If you are interested in attending and contributing, please register with Eventbrite to confirm your place or call 0141 404 0231.