The Ailing Welfare Service: Reforms of Health and Social Care Needs Proper Scrutiny

Change is part of a humans’ existence therefore, it is unavoidable and timeless. This concept is interrelated and insensitive to current occurrences within the wider welfare institutions in the UK’s health and social care sectors in particular. At present, health and social services are yet again undergoing a painstaking restructuring that is creating psychological and physical stresses to the entire workforce and consumers. This trajectory is building uncertain future due to continuous re-organizations, change of emphasis and redirections of care delivery to the general public. Ironically, people are not sure where their future and loyalty lies as changes in the system is triggering great worries to all concerned.

On reflection, health and social services went through a huge conscientious change in 1990s (The NHS and Community Care Act), that reconfigured the welfare systems to what many practitioners and managers thought would be a modern establishment. However, the New Labour government in 1997 to 2010 changed the prospect and redesigned it to new approaches such as personalization of services (Direct payments, Cash for Care and Personal Budgets) that transformed services delivery within the sectors. Change can make or break staff commitment, maximization of services, profitability or industrial disputes between the management and employees, this owing to mishaps within industrial relations’ policies and protocols.

Changing organizational cultures as well as philosophy and employee’s terms of reference requires effective governance and scrutiny in order to ensure health and social care reforms work for the benefits of all. The key to making the reforms work as planned would be to safeguard effective analysis of all new policy directives and structures. It is now questionable whether the “New Ways of Working” is capable of changing the fabrics and structures of the welfare services in the UK. The main themes of the overhauls are to reduce costs/budgets, staffing and improving quality and standards of services.

Decision making in some departments or services are proving to be irrational because costs are escalating, standards declining and waiting lists for assessment increasing across many social services departments. Most quality newspapers affirm that the coalition may have done everything they could to start implementing health and social care modifications before being properly examined. But, without careful considerations and good governance the plans would be an unmitigated disaster. That notwithstanding, the speed of restructuring and reallocation of services have produced an unsettling atmosphere for most health/social care workers and managers. The government’ itinerary to continue with reforms and their failure to allow time for study or to win the professional’s backing for these radical plans have been challenging to the wider community of experts and the public at large.

Considering the clamor amongst practitioners and clinicians, the question is, would the governments’ defiant be regarded as democratic or dictetorism? In contrast, it is believed that democracy means “government for the people and by the people”. If that is the case, the coalition would have itself to be blamed for any criticisms regarding their actions. The dismantling of the (PCT) Primary Care Trusts throughout the country in the next two or three years could be termed as political vandalism of tax payer’s money and good governance.

Similarly, most strategic health and local government authorities have expressed concerns regarding cutbacks on their budget, which could have huge ramifications to services for older people and other vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities and mental health. This has also been widely highlighted by a large proportion of the professional bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, British Medical Association and BBC 2 News Night in particular. The criticisms of the government is now without seasoning because health and social care organizations needs to double their expected cuts in order to remain afloat.

The growth of older people and their increasing demand for care is now unprecedented and becoming a threat to the welfare service and public services. This is despite extraordinary support from informal caregivers who are believed to have saved the government over eleven (£11bn) billion pounds a year. That notwithstanding, change is needed to reduce duplications within the system therefore, what is desirable now is a long term strategic alliance between all stakeholders (the national and local governments, health and social care and family members etc.). This would guarantee and strengthen collaborative services and minimization of costs and wastage within the sectors involved. Yet, judging from the current state of the economy both the macro and micro variable, it is certain that change is foreseeable in order to meet the challenges presented by the turmoil in the financial market and escalation of cost to maintain health and social care.

However, the difficulty in planning, management and administration of the ageing universal service in the UK has been made a lot harder as a result of disproportionately deep cuts to local authorities. The Big Society agenda indicated that the government should devolve responsibilities to the community, individuals, families and the third sector. By all assumptions, this would ensure that service users’ care would continue while restructuring is in progress. In hindsight, the key to making the reforms work would be to safeguard effective control and scrutiny of all the workflow patterns and services delivery. Practically, this has proved overwhelming for the organizations and management as details of the shake-up is superficial in terms of economics and socio-politics in line with social policy in the UK.

Presently, the government seems unconcerned and flustered regarding the “House of Common’s” health select committee’s proposal that councillors should be appointed to have seats on the boards of GPs consortia. On reflection, the quality and capacity of the representatives of some voluntary bodies such as: patients/service user’s liaison body and the local involvement network agencies could be inconsistent and lacking because of clinical and financial expertise. Thus, as a scrutiny committee, it would in practice be problematic to work closely with Health Watch, as well as with the health and wellbeing boards.

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Applying for Health and Social Care Jobs

Applying for health and social care jobs is one of the smartest things you can do in today’s slow economy. Health and social care jobs fall into some of the categories of employment that will always be in need of workers because they will never run out of clients. You have undoubtedly heard the old adage that a liquor store is busy when times are good, and a liquor store is busy when times are bad, so a fool proof way to make a living is to own a liquor store. Well, when you deal with human ailments and human elements and no matter how poor the economy gets there will still be humans and they will still get sick.

To apply for health and social care jobs you can go to all of the hospitals, clinics, doctor offices, labs, dentist’s offices, therapist’s offices, and other medical establishments in your town. You will manage to get your application into about one half of the places that hire health and social care jobs applicants by using this method of job searching.

Health and social care jobs are the ones held by therapists, nurses, the nursing assistants, the doctor, the dentist, the hygienist, and the many other licensed professionals that take care of humans when they are sick. These jobs are also filled by people who sit with the elderly while their family members have to go to jobs and have to go to other engagements. They do the laundry for the elderly and they visit with them and cook their meals.

Recruitment agencies often hire these professionals for the companies that hire them. A recruiting agency has more time to devote to finding the right person to fill the opening rather than having to hire someone that may not be the best choice for the opening.

Recruitment agencies will take care of the background checks that are necessary before a person can be hired to work in these types of positions. The recruiters also see to it that the drug screening is done and that records of any licenses that the people hold are obtained and proven. Licenses for people that do this type of work need to be redone every couple of years. Just because a person went to nursing school does not mean that they have kept up with their continuing education credits or kept their license current and good.

When a recruiting agency finds an employee that they think will make the company that is hiring a good employee they will set up a final interview with the human resources agent in the company that has the job opening. Their main goal is to be sending the right person to the right job so that the company gets the help they need and do not have to turn the people down and keep having more people brought around.

Working with the elderly and with sick people will be a rewarding career, but it can also be a challenging career.

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Health and Social Care – A Recession Proof Career!

Whatever your current situation, whether you are seeking promotion, looking to change career, about to start a new job, taking your first steps into teaching or management, the Health and Social Care sector has something to offer you.

If you have been looking for a job, full time or part time to raise income for your family or build a career around your children, there is room for you in health and social care, the job loss within this sector is very low.

What exactly do I need to do?

The starting point is you need to discover your interest and be willing to develop yourself. There are many aspects within the health and social care sector therefore you will need to decide what client group you would prefer to work with – children, young adults, elderly, individuals with disabilities (physical, cognitive and learning disabilities), specialized care ( stroke, mental disorders, dementia etc)

You will also need to decide the kind of environment – hospitals, care homes, individual homes or education and training.

Once you have made your decision, consider where you are now and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. In most cases your experience and training will count and you need to get both but for some it is how to package their existing experience and training to get the job they desire – You need to improve on areas such as CV writing and interview skills.

Here is a breakdown of courses that you can do to move to the next level.

NVQ Health and Social Care Level 1- This is usually a two weeks training that introduces you to the principles of Health and Social Care. You do not need to be in employment to do this training as it is meant to give you a fundamental understanding of the role of a care worker or support worker. This is the first building block if you are new to Health and Social Care. This course comprises of a one week workshop experience and the second week is a practical experience within a health and social care environment. Afterwards you receive a certificate of attendance. Some of the topics usually covered are:

Basic nursing procedures
Communication
Health and Safety at Work
Moving and handling procedures
Incontinence care
First Aid
Infection Control
Basic food hygiene
Safeguarding and protecting individuals
Confidentiality
Report writing

Most employers will require you present certificates of attendance for some mandatory training in healthcare such as Manual Handling Training, First Aid Training & Basic Food Hygiene. By Law, when you get a job your employer would organize an induction which would provide you with information specific to your role.

Pay rates for this level range from £5 – £8 per hour depending on the employer

NVQ Level 2 – This is the ideal level for you if you are working in Health and Social Care, providing support to professionals, carrying out clinical care, health or personal care to individuals in a hospital or community- based health care setting. It really doesn’t matter if you are new to the job you can enroll on this course. These days if you have been working without an NVQ or other qualification you will be advised by your employer to consider enrolling on NVQ 2 as you may not be allowed to keep your job from the year 2010. Many other employers would only offer jobs to care workers with a minimum of NVQ 2.

This course comprises of 4 mandatory units and 2 optional units based on a skill scan. The mandatory units are:

HSC21- Communication and record keeping

HSC22- Health and Safety at Work

HSC23 – Develop your practice

HSC24 – Protection of Individuals

You will be allowed to choose your 2 optional units from a list based on your skills and job role. This is a very interesting course and you will find it easy if you have been working according to your organizational policies and procedures. Having NVQ 2 Adults would qualify you to work with all groups of adults although you may need to attend trainings in specialized areas coupled with your existing experience, for example if you currently work with the elderly and wish to work with individuals with learning disability, your NVQ 2 adults is relevant except that you will need some additional training which are short courses.

Pay rates for this level range from £6.50 – £10 depending on the employer

NVQ Level 3- At Level 3, the Health and Social Care NVQ has two pathways: “Adults” and “Children and Young People”. This qualification is designed for workers delivering care and support often without direct supervision or probably working on their own in an individual’s own home.

If you are undertaking some supervisory or developmental responsibilities for other care workers or you are involved in other specialist tasks with some degree of responsibility or independence e.g. administration of medicines, NVQ 3 in health and social care is relevant to you.

Common job roles that would qualify you to do the NVQ 3 are senior care workers, team leaders, domiciliary care workers, home care organizers and community support workers.

You will be required to complete 4 mandatory units and 4 optional units based on a skills scan. The mandatory units are:

HSC31 – Promoting Communication

HSC32 – Promoting Health and Safety

HSC33 – Reflect on and develop your Practice

HSC34/ HSC35 – Protecting children (HSC34) or Adults (HSC35)

You will be allowed to choose your 4 optional units from a list based on your skills and job role. This is also a very interesting course and you will find it easy if you have been practicing within health and social care.

There is also a possible progression unto management and teaching roles which requires you achieve qualifications at Level 3 or Level 4. Do you want to know what the A1 Award is about? Or you have heard about PTTLS 7303 and you are wondering what these courses are all about, visit our website today for more information.

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