There's only one game in town in health and social care

by Dr Phil McCarvill Head of Policy and Public Affairs, England Phil-McCarvil_300x300We are often told in health and social care that there is only one game in town. Depending on who you talk to that that one game is likely to be efficiency and the need to save money; dealing with the impending demographic change or the upcoming General Election. However, it is clear from the NHS Confederation’s annual conference in Liverpool last week that the only game in town is putting people at the centre of care and support. Experiences of care This was the theme which ran through every presentation – from Rob Webster’s opening speech through to the fantastic final morning’s sessions with Ceinwen Giles, Mark Doughty, Lisa Rodrigues and Kate Granger speaking frankly about their own experiences of health and social care services. These clips should form part of training for all staff delivering, designing and regulating health and social care services. It’s a pity the session was hidden away on the Friday morning – next year it would be great to see it shifted up the agenda. Earlier in the conference, as part of a session on end of life care, Carol from the Marie Curie Expert Voices group talked about her experiences of caring for her terminally ill partner and the challenges which they faced in ensuring that doctors and nurses saw them as individuals, rather than focusing on the terminal illness. The contributions of Carol, Ceinwen, Kate, Lisa and Mark help remind us all why we work in health and social care, whether that is for a charity, NHS organisations or in social care. They help drive us to improve the quality of care and support available by genuinely putting terminally ill people, and their families and carers, at the centre of everything we do.