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Health and Social Care – How can distance learning help?

UK Distance Learning & Publishing run a wide range of home learning and online Health and Social Care courses. These include courses such as Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care, and Working in the Health Sector, and our more general CPD (Continuing Professional Development) options. We feel it’s very important to offer courses in health and social care, as we believe the UK could be sleepwalking towards a crisis in this sector.

It has long been the stated ambition of most of the major political parties to ‘integrate’ health and social care. They are usually pretty vague on what exactly they mean by this, and it’s very hard to find any real evidence of any tangible form of integration ever having been implemented. When he was health secretary, the current shadow home secretary Andy Burnham was a vocal advocate of integration but was, unfortunately for him, bumped out of office in 2010 by the Coalition government. He perhaps came closest to outlining some concrete examples of what could be done to make the NHS and the social care sector to work more closely together, though his plans still contain a strong flavour of politically expedient fudgery.

In broad terms, he wanted to inject more funds into the NHS, but also to reduce the demand on hospital and A&E services by also directing public funds to home care. This included proposed initiatives to offer ‘carers’, usually a family member of a vulnerable person, a ‘break’ from caring. In effect it seems as though this would be done by providing either a temporary residence for the vulnerable person, or else a brief period of full time support from a social care worker.

In addition, Mr Burnham suggested hiring somewhere in the region of 5000 additional social care workers, who would presumably be answerable to the NHS and the government rather than the private sector. At the moment the vast bulk of what are loosely termed ‘social care workers’ are in the employ of the private sector — something that is very different in the health sector, where the majority are employed by the NHS.

This is probably the hardest part of the whole ‘integration’ project. How do you make a sector that is, effectively, run for profit, align itself to a publicly funded body such as the NHS? For example, the majority of care homes in the UK are privately owned, and the staff they hire are paid a wage designed to maximise profit rather than the quality of care. One way that UK Distance Learning & Publishing would seek to address this would be by instituting a more rigorous set of minimum standards for social care workers. If you could make a relevant qualification, such as the Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care Level 3, part of a wider set of criteria for new social care workers, it would help to foster a greater degree of professionalism, and encourage higher wages across the sector.

Other suggestions include a wholesale nationalisation of private care homes and home carer agencies, but this would be prohibitively expensive, and it would be a brave politician that actually attempted to implement it. The current health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has already unequivocally ruled out bringing more social care services under the auspices of the public sector, though has made warmish noises at the suggestion that new spending could be directed to setting up new publicly run services. The difficulty with this, however, is the ‘push-back’ from the private sector, who would perhaps feel aggrieved at the idea of being under-cut on the provision of services.

This brings us back again to this central area of regulation. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve the puzzle of integrating health and social care just by flinging money at the problem (although more money is undoubtedly needed). The problem is that the framework in which the two sectors operate do not sufficiently overlap. Andy Burnham said that his ambition was that families should have only ‘one person to call’ for all of their care concerns. He never really made explicit whether this meant a GP, a social worker, a carer or a new kind of call centre, but the general premise feels like a sensible one.

In the current system, people are often admitted to hospital via A&E or GPs surgeries for problems that could be handled by non-medical staff in the home, but people often don’t know how to access these kinds of services. If there was some kind of central point of contact for people in need of care, who were capable of assessing individual needs and giving appropriate advice, or transferring people to the appropriate service, then this would undoubtedly take the strain off frontline services. Once again, UK Distance Learning & Publishing would recommend that the key to putting this kind of infrastructure in place is education. I can’t say that the pill makes everything perfect, but I see significant changes. I finally managed to maintain erection during sex. My wife is satisfied and achieves orgasm a couple of times. Sometimes, the morning after the use of Cialis tadalafil at https://summitps.org/generic-tadalafil-buy/ I have stuffy nose and stomach upset. Having a set of workers with basic, full national qualifications in health and social care would allow them to bridge the gap between the two sectors, and provide this central point of contact.