Our CEO Dr Helen Brown spoke on the Quality of Care in Rural Norfolk, explaining issues and outlining her vision for the strategic delivery of care and way forward.
Organised by Norfolk Rural Support Network with the aim to identify and address issues important to Norfolk’s rural communities, the seminar highlighted the challenges of delivering a carer service in a rural areas.
Tim O’Mullane, Assistant Director for Integrated Care-Southern Locality set the scene and talked about the statutory responsibility of local authorities and what they provide. Dr Helen Brown, Chief Executive, Carers Trust Norfolk Crossroads Carer Service explained some of the problems in accessing quality care in rural areas, through high demand from a large elderly population, higher costs of provision especially due to travelling costs and a small workforce. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) State of Care 2016 report shows that care services are at a “tipping point” and that there is a shortage of carers and care homes, which are reducing in number. CQC monitors and rates hospitals, hospices, GPs and care homes and domiciliary care agencies. A quarter of domiciliary care nationally requires improvement or is inadequate, but this is higher in Norfolk. Helen said that there is a real need to shop around for care and recommended checking the Norfolk County Council and CQC websites and using trusted recommendations. She explained that people perceive home care as expensive and used the UK Home Care Association (UKHCA) pricing model to explain costs. Dr Brown said delivering a quality service in an area where many homes were in isolated communities is challenging and wanted communities to respond more to these challenges. “We will all to touched by the need for social care, either to provide it or because we need it and there is not enough state funding for it. However, it seems that as a nation, we are more willing to spend on dog walkers and kennels than on caring for families and friends. Yet between 1 and 2 in 10 people end up spending over £100,000 on care, but few people realise this.” She recommended planning ahead for better quality of life and to save in the long term.
Carers Trust Norfolk provides home and respite support to around 300 families in Norfolk, including children with disabilities and works closely with young carers across the country through the Norfolk Young Carers Forum.
Wendy Marchant, Macmillan Cancer Information & Support Specialist spoke about the Macmillan Mobile Service, which sees people with 250 different types of cancer and how it can be used to address the needs of rural communities. Christine Little, Patient Experience Lead (PALS) Nursing & Quality Directorate agreed with a Better Together approach, saying that It is all about communication and joining people up. All services have a duty to listen and respond to people when they have questions or concern about their care to enable a better experience and better outcomes.