A look ahead in 2023 – Digitising Social Care

As we enter 2023, we’re delighted to share some short thought pieces from some of our colleagues about the year ahead, and the contribution frontline social leaders make every day whilst there are so many challenges within the system.

By Dr Jane Brightman, Assistant Director of Programmes – System Reform, NHS Transformation Directorate

“I’m pleased to be asked to share some thoughts on the year ahead with everyone connected with My Home Life England.

2023 is now upon us, it crept up quickly. We’ve started the new year with a health and social care system in crisis, finally buckling under all the pressure.

I have been interested in the media narrative that people aren’t being discharged from hospital into social care because there isn’t enough staff, is that true? I polled the Outstanding Manager Network which has over 7,000 care manager and leader members, turns out 49% aren’t able to take hospital discharge care packages because they simply can’t afford the local authority rates. Lack of staffing was at 28% and then poor discharge information 10%.

It’s fair to say that this isn’t scientific research, but it does give us a picture of what is happening and yes, none of this is easy to solve. It highlights to me that policy makers and health leaders need to get much better at listening to and communicating with social care colleagues. What might be learned, for example, if policy makers spent time in care services. I don’t just mean an hour-long visit, I mean days, a week, to really see what is happening and what can be done to improve and reform.

The team I work in is supporting the social care sector to become more digitised, our primary commitment is for 80% of care providers to have a digital care plan in place. The benefits include improved communication and sharing of data between services and time saving. But we appreciate that right now, heads are down, coping with all the winter pressures and going digital might be slipping down the list of priorities. If you are interested and have a small amount of spare time to think digital for a moment, sign up to our newsletter and find out about funding opportunities and resources.

But let’s go back to my point on listening to people from the social care sector. A couple of years ago I discovered an amazing time banking system for health and social care called Hexitime. It’s free to use and there are some great opportunities on there. Working with Department of Health Social Care and NHS England we have created our own community area on the platform. I’m looking for anyone working in or with the adult social care sector to join up and get involved. No matter what your role or where you work. If you are curious, please take a look.

I’m going to end by wishing everyone a healthy and stress-reduced new year, ever the optimist. Things are tough but our sector pulls it’s socks up and powers on every day, it’s quite remarkable.

Keep seeing the opportunity in every difficulty and most of all, make sure you take time for yourself, as often as you can.”



With thanks to Dr Jane Brightman

Jane is on Twitter here: @TOMNetworkUK