At the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 the Adult Social Care workforce moved almost entirely to remote working and we suspended all but essential face-to face activity. Our operational focus was to keep people safe and ensure swift flow from acute hospitals. I am proud of the work that we did to support the shielding of vulnerable residents; to support care providers with infection control and managing outbreaks through new local care hubs; providing a range of financial and non-financial support to care providers; and rolling-out Carephone tablets to support 2,000 vulnerable people to protect them from social isolation.
When the Mid and South Essex health system declared a major incident in December 2020 we worked as a health and care system across greater Essex to respond, providing mutual aid and testing and enhancing our emergency response plans so that we could cope as a system with the unprecedented circumstances we faced.
Throughout the pandemic we developed a system-wide approach to gathering data and intelligence on flows through hospitals and bed occupancy so that we can better manage demand in the system. We will work with our partners to build on this legacy of improved quality and availability of system-wide data as we move forward. I am extremely proud of the way in which Adult Social Care responded to the pandemic and that, despite these many pressures, we continued to manage within our budget.
But the pandemic inevitably caused some delays to our planned activity of work and also created some operational backlogs. It created challenges to some of our ambitions and outcomes and we need to re-double our efforts now to ensure that we can best support people. As we begin the process of renewal it is right for us to re-evaluate our position and re-frame our business plan to reflect changed circumstances and new ways of working so that we can continue to respond to the pandemic when we need to, while also laying the foundations for our future ambitions of social care in Essex.
As a service we are committed to supporting the development of inclusion and diversity. We are working to fully understand the challenges and experiences that people face so we can ensure that diversity is continually embraced and there is inclusion for all.
It also necessary that we consider the requirements of the Health and Care Bill, which proposes to establish new statutory integrated care partnerships as well as introducing a new inspection regime for local authorities on adult social care by the Care Quality Commission.
This plan sets out our ambitions; our areas of focus; and our response to these local and national strategic challenges.
"Putting communities at the heart of Adult Social Care: enabling people to live their lives to the fullest"
ASC needs to move to a more community-based model that is more local, more preventative, and more integrated with partners – helping to ensure that people can get the right support at the right time to maintain their independence and quality of life.
The outcomes we want people to enjoy:
- Independence and wellbeing is maximised
- Choice and control over health care
- Access to a place to call home
- Access to social and employment opportunities
- Positive experience of health and social care system
- Reduce inequalities and increased inclusion
- Kept safe