An insight into the UK healthcare industry

by | 22.06.2016

At Quinyx, we work extensively with healthcare organisations throughout Europe.

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Martin Green, Chief Executive, Care England

Increasingly, we’re seeing larger numbers of health and social care providers using Quinyx to optimise their workforce management and deliver a higher standard of care to their end users.

We recently spoke to Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, the largest representative body for independent social care service in the UK, to get his insight into the future of the sector, the aspirations for healthcare and the challenges being faced by providers.


Here’s what we had to tell us:


What’s the current state of healthcare in the UK?

Our problem in this country is we have a very fragmented system; we treat health in one way and social care in another. When we started the health service we had a very clear pathway for people which was diagnose them, intervene and send them to a hospital, and then send them home cured.

Actually, the 21st century is characterised by people who have long term conditions where there is no cure. A lot of the support they need is how to live well with their condition, which social care does, but because the system is still in a 1948 model there is no seamless transition for people between health and social care. The two sectors are funded very differently, supported very differently and have a significant difference in people’s understanding of them.


Is there a shift that needs to happen in society from purely focussing on treating illness to safeguarding health?

It certainly needs to happen. Everyone talks endlessly about prevention but I don’t see much evidence of the delivery of it. We have an ill service not a health service. There’s a real challenge in turning the talk about prevention into a reality.


In terms of challenges, what are the big challenges facing the providers?

The biggest challenge is people are living longer with multiple health conditions and the system is not geared up to this new reality. We need to develop communities, infrastructure and transport where it’s easy for people with impairments to use them and be part of them.

For example, if we had a ‘lifetime-home standard’ we’d have all our plug sockets at waist height in our homes, we’d have gradients rather than steps everywhere, we’d have much wider doorways, we’d have much greater use of light in services, we’d have public health services that transitioned seamlessly into housing, transport and leisure rather than just being health and social care. So we have to orientate ourselves in a completely different way.


How can the industry make sure this happens?

We should shift away from focussing on the level and quality of the service’s people receive and start focussing on the quality of the life they have. The end-point of every service should always be about ensuring quality of life but so often the end-point is the service itself not the user.

The system is setup to monitor services not people and outcomes, it’s obsessed with processes not the result. We’ve forgotten that all the processes are there to do is to facilitate someone having a good quality of life.


How do we change this?

It’s going to require a huge culture change and it’s going to require it in every bit of the system. It’s going to require citizens to be more demanding about what they want, it’s going to require political leadership, it’s going to require the individual to lead their own agenda in terms of what they need, it’s going to require professionals, particularly in the health service, to give up some of their power so the important point becomes about the experience the person has who is receiving the service.

All these things require enormous culture change as well as a change in how we do things.


Can you see this happening and how will the industry change with it?

It’s going to be a long-term shift. I don’t see much evidence of it happening now and one of the things the industry has to do, and is starting to do, is to start thinking about doing it anyway because if they wait for the government or the commissioner  or the regulator they’ll be waiting forever.

We have to take control and put the power back into the hands of the individual who uses the service and we’ve got to have in mind the best interests of the people who use services rather than all the noise about process.

We need a system that recognises what is good, and what people are doing well, and then makes that mainstream and available to everybody. My frustration is this rarely happens. There are lessons we can learn and should from the private sector in other industries about integrating a seamless service and making the experience of the end-user the priority.


As well as being the Chief Executive of Care England, Martin Green is also Chair of the International Longevity Centre and a Trustee of the National Aids Trust. In 2013 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Social Care to Buckinghamshire New University. In 2012, in his role as Department of Health Independent Sector Dementia Champion, he led the development of the Dementia Care and Support Compact for The Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia.

 

In 2008 he was named care personality of the year and was awarded an OBE for Services to Social Care in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Tommy Tonkins

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