An independent commission, chaired by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, has been asked by Essex County Council to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in looking at the future of health and social care in the county.
A recent Essex study showed the value service users place on social care provision with 92% of service users questioned saying that care and support services help them have a good quality of life, and 60% of respondents saying having help makes them think and feel better about themselves.
Leader of Essex County Council, Councillor Peter Martin said: “Ensuring residents have a happy, healthy and positive quality of life has long been a priority of the local authority and it is clear from our research findings that help and support is vital to the health and wellbeing of our communities. What we need to understand is what future support could look like considering the pressures of rising demand for social care due to an aging population and an increase in residents with complex social care needs?
“In Essex over the next 15 years, we can expect a 39% increase in the over-65s and a 68% increase in the over 85s but there is no reason that this population shouldn’t be enjoying life and contributing to positively to society – it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.”
The ‘Who Will Care? Commission’ will take evidence across Essex from health and social care professionals, providers and practitioners as well as members of the public through public events.
The Commission will look at three specific issues as part of the review:
- How to ensure that early intervention – an approach that improves outcomes for individuals and can also reduce demand for more costly services – can become more commonplace
- How Essex can create the conditions for greater joining up of services across the system of health and social care in the future;
- How communities and individuals can develop the capacity to play an active role in our health and social care system.
Peter Martin continued: “We know from our own lives and from talking to people across Essex how important health care is. But changing demography, reduced Government grants and increased demand will likely lead to huge pressures in the coming years. As more health responsibilities are devolved to local authorities, it is clear to me that we can only tackle these challenges together and that’s why we’ve asked the Commission to leave no stone unturned in this piece of work.”
The Commission will be headed by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Executive Chair and Adjunct Professor of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College, London and former Chief Executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Sir Thomas said: “Asking an independent body to provide recommendations on such a vital topic is a brave and innovative thing to do, and I applaud Essex County Council for seeking a creative, unfettered and focused appraisal of how the health and social care system can be improved.
"Of course we want to hear from professionals and practitioners, but we’re really interested in the views of people across Essex.
"Health and social care touches everyone’s lives so it’s important that people have a chance to not only tell us what they think, but why they think it. Whether you’re a patient, a carer, use services or know someone who does, or whether there’s a specific issue affecting your community, we want to know about it.”
For more information, visit whowillcare.info.