You could say that there are only two certainties about the future of adult social care. One is that the demand for services will increase. The other is that there will be even more uncertainty.
There’s still a long-term trend towards an ageing population and more people having complex care needs. In the short to medium term the impact of ‘long Covid’ and recovery from infection is still being analysed but is definitely having an impact on the demand for care services.
At the same time, we still don’t have a real insight into what the Government plan to ‘fix’ the social care system will be or what future funding arrangements will look like.
Gaps in Provision
Across the country, we know that care providers often struggle to fill care packages because of post-Brexit staff shortages and the disruption to operations caused by the pandemic.
In concrete and very practical terms, care providers can easily find that it’s no longer viable to deliver services in specific areas. Some will find it unviable to continue providing any services at all. In the first five months of 2021 there were 120 insolvencies in the health and care sector.
This all adds more turbulence to the system and makes it even harder for brokerage teams to meet the needs of service users. (Are they even service users if there’s no service to use?).
Issues Are Here to Stay
It isn’t within the power of any local authority, commissioning group or NHS trust to make all of these systemic issues go away. It isn’t even possible to second guess when and where the next big gap in provision will open up.
It’s a question of managing the situation and the uncertainties as well as you can and being in the best possible position to react quickly to events. Agility is a bit of a business buzzword – but it’s actually highly relevant in the current social care environment. It sums up perfectly the way that care brokerage must flex with ever-changing demands and permanent disruption.
Agility stems from systems. It doesn’t matter how hard people work or how skilled they are at their jobs. If the systems they are expected to use are clunky, unresponsive and heavily reliant on manual intervention, the service delivered will follow suit.
How to Bring Agility to Care Brokerage
A secure, cloud-based platform that allows care packages to be posted or re-brokered with a few clicks, where providers instantly see and can bid for available packages, and where there are zero spreadsheets, emails and paper records would obviously help.
Fortunately, that platform already exists and is saving time and effort for brokerage teams and care providers across the country.
eBrokerage by UDMS is a unique, secure cloud-based brokerage system. It’s also easy to procure through the G-Cloud 12 framework, via Ulysses eBrokerage Cloud Software.