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Miliband: we need to join up 'fragmented' social care

Ed Miliband has said people with long-term conditions such as dementia or diabetes should be given "whole-person care", instead of services focusing on only one part of the body.

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband said the current system meant "too much money is being wasted". Credit: PA

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Labour Leader said patients would benefit from a single, co-ordinated care team rather than being passed between different services.

Patients should have their own tailored care plan and be given access to "a personal care co-ordinator who is on their side and watching their back", Mr Miliband wrote.

It comes as a new report commissioned by Labour calls for the current system to be replaced with one that views a person's health and social care needs together.

Social workers recommend ending unpaid overtime

The child protection system is "beyond breaking point" and social workers are facing increasing pressure, according to a report by the British Association of Social Workers.

The report for a group of MPs makes the following recommendations:

  • An end to unpaid overtime
  • Separation of social worker's electronic records and data collection
  • Exploration of improved caseload management strategies
  • A restoration of local authority car allowances
  • Ending the "hot desking" culture
  • Protection of role for social workers
  • Exploration of how to record social worker's input and achievements
  • Consideration should be given to proper recognition of restrictive working conditions
  • Guidance to encourage social work involvement in NHS patient management
  • The employer health check should be reviewed and more rigorous
  • Government should liaise with the Association of Chief Police Officers on taking action against those behind websites inciting hatred towards social workers

Read: Report 'offers insight into pressures faced by social workers'


Social worker: Volume of adoption cases is 'crippling'

A social worker specialising in adoption told an inquiry into social care by MPs that the sheer volume of work they face has had a "crippling" affect on her team.

Frontline social workers have given evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group, talking about the daily pressures they are under and "being beyond breaking point."

Twice as many children to place, twice as many adopters, so our work has gone up fourfold. Yet I’ve had no increase in bodies to be able to do that work. I have social workers working until 8pm each night, and weekends, because they are very dedicated. They keeping adding a bit more and a bit more – it’s become crazy.

Only a tiny amount of the adopters assessment process is information gathering; most of it is therapeutic, counselling. There is a lot to process, practically and emotionally.

We accept that it takes at least nine months to prepare to be a birth parent, and 'responsible adults' start planning before conception but now we’re saying that you can take on our most traumatised children and make that journey in four months? I think that’s reckless. We also have to get to know them, to be confident what kind of child they could manage.

The thing crippling my team, and this has been the case for the past two years, is sheer volume.

– Judith Acreman

Read: MPs' report offers insight into pressures faced by social workers

Social worker: 'There needs to be action now'

A social worker who has worked in child protection for over 30 years has told ITV News that action needs to be taken now in social care.

Frontline social workers have given evidence to an All Party Parliamentary Group, talking about the daily pressures they are under and "being beyond breaking point."

We have had report after report all calling for change but has there been any? No. There now needs to be action.

We have very dedicated staff who don't go home on a Friday night until 8pm, and even then they are taking work home – I have to kick them out, that’s not unusual. I haven’t taken a lunch break in three months.

The one overriding statement my team want me to make is ‘capacity’; there’s just not the capacity in the system and I’ve never known it like it is now – just impossible.

I would say it used to be a 30/ 70 split between admin and face to face contact now it is more like 80/20. And trying to retain staff in the backdrop of cuts and enormous pressures is so difficult. Dedicated staff just feel like giving up.

– Karen Goodman

Read: MPs' report offers insight into pressures faced by social workers

Child protection system is 'beyond breaking point'

The child protection system is "beyond breaking point" and social workers are facing increasing pressure, a report for MPs by the British Association of Social Workers has said.

The Government's plans to increase adoption speed would be unsafe and adults who need social workers' help have to be beyond critical before getting it, the report for the All Parliamentary Group on Social Care found.

Social workers' testimonies to the inquiry strongly supported evidence that frontline staff are facing rising pressures in their jobs.


Council may charge children over 16 for care costs

Children over the age of 16 could be asked to cover some of the costs of being taken into care under plans being considered by one council.

Worcestershire County Council is considering recovering some of the costs from parents or even children themselves if they are over the age of 16 and meet certain criteria.

A consultation document says the council cannot charge for services that it is legally obliged to provide - such as child protection or adoption - but it could charge for accommodation costs or social worker fees.

It acknowledges there would be "very limited cases when it would be considered appropriate to seek a contribution from a young person", and that parents would be charged "only if it is reasonable to do so".

What to expect from the Queen's Speech

Measures expected to be announced when the Queen sets out the Government's legislative programme include:

  • An Immigration Bill giving strengthened powers to deport foreign criminals by preventing the abuse of human rights laws. The Bill will also enable more substantial fines to be imposed on businesses exploiting illegal labour.
  • A National Insurance Contributions Bill implementing the Budget commitment to cut the cost of recruiting new employees.
  • A Consumer Rights Bill covering goods, services, digital content and unfair contract terms.
  • A Deregulation Bill to cut red tape for firms looking to grow.
  • A Social Care Bill to cap care costs, so pensioners will not have to sell their homes.
  • A Pensions Bill to create a flat-rate pension, which ministers claim will encourage saving and help women who have had long career breaks.

Jeremy Hunt: Social care system is 'bureaucratic'

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK faces a "very, very big challenge" with its "ageing society".

Speaking to Daybreak about the Queen's Speech, he said: "There's a lot of pressure on the [adult social care] system and one of things we need to be a lot better at, is joining up the health and social care system."

Mr Hunt added that the Queen will announce measures to help do this, so people no longer feel "pushed between pillar to post" through the "bureaucratic" social care system.

Osborne speeds up pension and social care reforms

Chancellor George Osborne on the BBC's Andrew Marr show
Chancellor George Osborne on the BBC's Andrew Marr show

The government will bring forward the introduction of a new, simple state pension system and a cap on the cost of social care, Chancellor George Osborne announced today.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the single-tier pension will be introduced in 2016, a year earlier than previously planned, and would be a "huge boost" for people who want to save for their retirement.

The cap on social care costs, originally planned to be set at £ 5,000 and introduced in 2017, will now also be introduced in 2016 at a level of £72,000.

The single-tier pension is set to be worth around £144 a week.

Read: The winners and losers from a flat-rate pension system

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