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Social Work Bursary Swimming Against the Tide

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The Social Work Bursary won't fix the world: why is this a surprise?

 

The Department for Health is currently consulting about reforms to the bursary scheme for social work trainees in the UK. Following in the wake of nursing and teaching, social work became an entirely 'graduate profession' in 2003; the bursary was supposed to make sure recruitment didn't drop off when trainees were faced with an extra year of study. There are two main reasons for changing things now. Firstly, of course, the government doesn't want to pay the £112M annual bill. The Comprehensive Spending Review has identified a saving target, though they're not saying exactly how big it is (Click here to read more).

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

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I've just been listening to the excellent Radio 4 Programme Things We Forgot to Remember, in which Michael Portillo talks about the Morgenthau Plan, drawn up to punish post-war Germany. This consisted, amongst other things, of wrecking industry and forcing Germans to make reparation by working in labour camps outside of Germany. Before being abandoned in favour of the more progressive Marshall Plan, the proposals had gained the support of Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt. (Click here to read more).

Do We Still Need Social Workers?

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I'm a social worker, and have recently joined the new College of Social Work. The creation of the College has been highly controversial within the profession, which has always struggled to find its own identity amidst a sea of government and regulatory requirements. What finally convinced me was the publication of a report from the Centre of For Workforce Intelligence that shows many Councils are replacing qualified social workers with cheaper 'unqualified' staff, for example support brokers (something I also do). This seemed like to good time to reflect on whether there's still a need for social workers at all (click here to read more).

Wide Variation In Implementation of Self-Directed Support

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Community Care magazine has reported that the latest government figures show a huge national variation in the implementation of personal budgets. Originally the plan had been for all adults entitled to publicly funded adult care to have personal budgets by 2011, but the date was put back to 2013 when the deadline began to appear unrealistic. In the end the national figure for 2010-11 was 29.2% , compared to 13% in 2009-10. The biggest surprise, though, has been the variation in the scores for different local authority areas. Click here for full story.

Standards vs Access

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For the first time, GP practices are being required to register with the Care Quality Commission. The CQC will require GP practices to register with them by April 2013. On the face of it, this is a good thing, as it offers an assurance that certain minimum standards are being met by services. However, the new requirements present some potential issues in terms of access for people living in rural areas.

NHS Privatisation Films Now Available Online

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Last night local activists met in East Oxford to view 3 short films by local artist Ann-Marie Sweeney. The films, which attempt to unpick the consequences of the Health and Social Care Bill, can now be watched free online.

Oxfordshire Still Optimistic About Self-Directed Support

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Community Glue turned out at the launch event for the Oxfordshire Wheel, an organisation we've been involved with since we started down our own path to personalisation in 2010. Keith dutifully staffed the stall . Jon facilitated two consecutive workshops around brokerage.(Click here to read more about the event)

Will Royal Colleges Sell Out The NHS?

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The Health and Social Care Bill has split many of the professions involved with the Bill, none more so than the medical profession itself. Today the BBC has reported that in an attempt to demonstrate solidarity, three trade papers (the Health Service Journal, the Nursing Times and the British Medical Journal) will run a joint Editorial criticising the Bill - but crucially not calling for it to be withdrawn. This echoes events last week when several of the Royal Colleges backed away from open confrontation with the government by 'pressing for substantive changes' rather than calling for the proposals to be scrapped. More and more this is looking like a battle between different factions of the NHS workforce, with patients' views dropping off the front pages. So how much can the professions be trusted? Click here to read more.

UK Has Lowest Costs For Healthcare

UK Has Lowest Costs For Healthcare

Recent data from the OECD has shown that the United Kingdom's NHS is one of the best in the world across a range of indicators. This chart compares the typical out-of-pocket expenses faced by people who become ill in a range of OECD countries. People in the Uk do better than people almost anywhere else, and yet we are about to change that for a US-style insurance-based service. As you can see, people in the USA face the highest out-of-pocket expenses. They also have a worse coverage rate than almost any other country, with only around 80% of the population having health cover provided through insurance or the state. Click graph (left) to enlarge.

Welfare Bill Defeated In Lords

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Proposals to remove entitlement to Employment Support Allowance from 15,000 young 'disabled' people were defeated in the House of Lords last night. However, the government says it will press ahead with the Bill regardless. ESA has already proved hugely controversial, with large numbers of people being 'set up to fail'. If they are reintroduced in the Commons, the changes will mean that people who become sick or disabled before they are old enough to pay into the scheme through National Insurance will no longer be entitled to the benefit. This means they could face a lifetime on means-tested benefits. 

We Campaign Against NHS Privatisation

We Campaign Against NHS Privatisation

We turned out on a beatiful Saturday morning to distribute leaflets supporting Dr Clive Peedell's run from Wales to London in protest against creeping privatisation of the NHS. Ten volunteers from local campaign group Keep Our NHS Public distributed over 1000 leaflets in just over an hour. Clive will be aiming to stop off in Witney on the 4th of his 6 consecutive marathons, and will address public meetings in Witney and Oxford. Details here.

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