Fair Care Work: A Post COVID-19 Agenda for Employment Relations in Health and Social Care

Ian Kessler, Stephen Bach, Richard Griffin and Damian Grimshaw introduce their new paper, Fair care work. A post Covid-19 agenda for integrated employment relations in health and social care, published yesterday by King’s Business School. Lead author, Professor Kessler, is Deputy Director of the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce. (908 words)

The courage and sacrifice of the health and social care workforce have emblazoned themselves on the national consciousness as the challenge of COVID-19 continues. While classified as ‘key workers’, along with other occupations essential to the community in times of crisis, the distinctive contribution of frontline care workers, reflected in their direct and relentless engagement with the virus, has until recently been reflected in the Thursday night applause reserved for them. This public applause sits uneasily, however, with the treatment of over two million health and social care employees, mostly women, often from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, typically in undervalued, relatively low paid and insecure employment. In a new paper, we seek to kick start a policy debate on the development of fair care work, to stimulate discussion on a refreshed employment relations (ER) agenda which acknowledges and reflects the worth of care workers to our individual and communal well-being. Continue reading

Is the answer to the NHS workforce crisis right in front of its eyes?

Richard Griffin MBE,Visiting Senior Research Fellow, King’s Business School, today begins a series of guest posts on the healthcare workforce. He argues that, in the face of the widely acknowledged problem of shortages in this workforce, we should turn to current NHS support staff for part of the solution. (477 words)

Workforce is the biggest challenge facing the NHS. Not only is it short of 50,000 nurses, it also needs more podiatrists, midwives, radiographers and a host of other occupations. Total vacancies are approaching 110,000.

Whilst the government is committed to addressing this shortfall, a key question is – where will all those extra nurses, podiatrists, midwives and radiographers come from? Continue reading

Promoting the importance of human relationships: hospital social work

Jo Moriarty, Senior Research Fellow at the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London introduces the new hospital social work report, which she wrote with Dr Nicole Steils and Prof Jill Manthorpe. World Social Work Day is on 19 March 2019 #WSWD2019 is the official hashtag. (602 words)

Mapping Hospital Social WorkThe theme for next week’s World Social Work Day is ‘promoting the importance of human relationships.’  In preparation for this we are launching our report into hospital social work, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Programme at the request of the Chief Social Worker for Adults, Lyn Romeo.  Lyn has also kindly written the report’s foreword.

The origins of hospital social work lie in the decision made by the Royal Free Hospital in 1895 to appoint Mary Stewart as the first ‘lady almoner’. Her role was to interview people to decide who would be eligible for the free medical treatment that the hospital provided.  Other hospitals soon followed this example and by 1948, the Institute of Almoners had over 1000 active members.[1]  Written in the style of the time, Flora Beck’s textbook for almoners noted that their two key tasks were:

… to determine whether social problems are likely to have a bearing on the patient’s illness. The second is to make the patient feel that here is a person with whom he could, if necessary, discuss his personal difficulties; someone to whom he need not mind admitting any trivial misunderstanding which had been bothering him, and to whom he could reveal serious and confidential problems without embarrassment.[2, cited in 3] Continue reading

At the 7th International Health Humanities Network Conference

Dr Martin StevensMartin Stevens is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s. (1,276 words)

I was pleased to be asked to chair a few sessions of this conference, on 2nd-4th August 2018, at St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton Football Club. Overcoming the prejudice about all things Southampton inevitable in a Portsmouth resident, I have to admit it was a great venue.

This was the 7th International Health Humanities Network (IHHN) conference. The venue has alternated between the USA and Europe; this year the conference was run in collaboration with the Good Mental Health Cooperative and speakers and delegates came from the USA, Australia, Europe and Nigeria. The IHHN:

…provides a global platform for innovative humanities scholars, medical, health and social care professionals, voluntary sector workers and creative practitioners to join forces with informal and family carers, service-users and the wider self-caring public to explore, celebrate and develop new approaches in advancing health and wellbeing through the arts and humanities in hospitals, residential and community settings. (from the IHHN website)

St Mary's Stadium, Southampton

St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

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Gambling: legitimate leisure or escalating public health issue?

Caroline NorrieSCWRU Researcher, Caroline Norrie, reports on a NatCen-hosted debate about whether gambling should be treated as a public health issue. (1,335 words)

Researchers, industry and government representatives, LA staff and gambling-support organisation workers gathered to debate whether gambling is a legitimate entertainment activity or an escalating public health danger on 7 March 2018 at the NatCen (National Centre for Social Research) offices in London.

Opportunities to gamble have burgeoned in England since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 (implemented in 2007). Industry de-regulation combined with technological advances have triggered an explosion of new online and offline gambling products which has been accompanied by widespread cross-media advertising. Continue reading

Being a Member of Healthwatch ‘Enter and View’ team – a positive learning and volunteering experience

Caroline NorrieCaroline Norrie is a Research Fellow at Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. She writes about her experiences of volunteering for Wandsworth Healthwatch. (908 words)

I first heard about Wandsworth Healthwatch when I randomly attended a meeting about changes in my local hospital. It was a heated meeting where the hospital CEO was grilled by attendees of all ages and backgrounds about controversial issues such as privatising certain areas of service provision, the cost of auditors and care quality on specific wards. I’ve been regularly involved with Wandsworth Healthwatch since then and have found it a rewarding and interesting experience. Continue reading

Is Donald useful?

NigelCharlesOct17Nigel Charles is a health services researcher at the University of Exeter Medical School. He also has Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and draws on his experience of this to suggest a patient informed research study about using statistics to help patients deal with the emotional impact of cancer. (1,418 words)

I’m in a club no one wants to be in. The Cancer Club. This post is about a hunch I have about how to handle being a member of this club and the need for this to be researched. I’m also waving the flag for patients shaping the research agenda.

I was diagnosed with an aggressive variety of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma—a type of blood cancer—in October 2016. (Indeed, I write this on the day of the anniversary of my first hospital admission which led to the diagnosis. Happy Birthday.) The haematologists who specialise in the treatment of NHL found a cricket ball sized tumour buried deep inside my abdomen. Surgery was needed to stop it blocking my bowel but subsequent chemotherapy hasn’t worked. We have yet to see if the next and last available option—radiotherapy—will. Continue reading

Which people with dementia receive less medical attention; what can social care do to promote equality?

Open Access from Age and AgeingClaudia Cooper and Jill Manthorpe introduce their new article, which is open access in Age and Ageing. (726 words)

Women with dementia make fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men with dementia, our new research has found.

The study, published in Age and Ageing in early December, was funded by Dunhill Medical Trust. We found that only half of all people with dementia had a documented annual review even though GPs are offered financial incentives to carry these out. Women were at particular risk of staying on antipsychotic or sedative medication for longer. This might be because they have fewer GP appointments where their treatment can be reviewed. Continue reading

Let’s Talk – Care Homes and Delayed Discharge

Bev EvansNorman CrumpBev Evans and Norman Crump, both of Lancaster University Management School, report from a recent meeting where participants discussed the transition from hospital to care home. (913 words)

According to the National Audit Office (2016), between 2013 and 2015, official delayed transfers of care rose 31 per cent and in 2015 accounted for 1.15 million bed days – 85 per cent of patients occupying these beds were aged over 65. Since 2010, waits for beds in nursing homes increased by 63 per cent. Across Morecambe Bay University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MBUHT) waiting for a care home place can be a significant cause of delay.

In early October, Cumbria Registered Social Care Managers’ Network, Kendal Integrated Care Community (ICC) and MBUHT convened a special ‘Let’s Talk’ discussion group which brought together local care home managers, social workers, hospital discharge coordinators, ward staff and nurse practitioners from the community. The aim of the meeting was to explore how the transition from hospital to a care home could be improved. ‘Let’s Talk’ is a specially facilitated session delivered by King’s College London, Lancaster University, Dignity in Dementia and the South Lakes Registered Social Care Managers Network. Meetings are designed to enable participants to see issues from each other’s perspectives and to afford time to critically reflect on a particular ‘wicked issue’. Continue reading

Social work and the ill body

Liz Price Liz WalkerLiz Price (left) and Liz Walker both work at the University of Hull. (401 words)

Social work is remarkably silent when it comes to the physical body. By definition, the profession is similarly unnoticed within the experience, and practice, of illness. This book addresses these silences through an exploration of chronic (autoimmune) illnesses engaging in wider debates around vulnerability, resistance and the lived experience of ongoing ill-health.

We demonstrate the role that social work has to play in actively engaging the (ill) physical body, rather than working around and through it. We focus on autoimmune conditions such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. Conditions like these allow for an exploration of the everyday lived experience of illnesses which can exacerbate social and economic vulnerability and may precipitate personal and social crises, requiring a variety of interventions and support. Continue reading