Opinion

Coproducing Care

Sophie Chester-Glyn
Director at CoproduceCare

Care organisations and their staff are often encouraged to improve health and social care but there are three main issues. Time, people’s awareness of their power to make change and siloed knowledge within the sector. Coproduce Care sets out to change that.

What is Coproduce Care?

I have worked in social care for most of my career and earlier this year I decided to pitch an idea to likeminded people within the care organisation I work for. We wanted to encourage coproduction in care. This resulted in Coproducecare.com, a non-profit organisation aiming to:

1. connect organisations
2. connect volunteers and people needing support
3. knowledge share and
4. help anyone involved in care or caring respond to government and policy consultations
ref: New Economics Foundation

Why Coproduce?

NHS England describes coproduction as “a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers and communities in equal partnership; and which engages groups of people at the earliest stages of service design, development and evaluation”. However, a lot of social care policy and practice is imposed on rather than coproduced with the sector. In order to create true equality staff and people being cared for, all those individuals should be enabled to have a voice. Care managers wanting to understand more about how their services can support coproduction can find out more on websites such as TLAP, SCIE or our blog page.
We launched our website in October and our focus over the next six months is to take social care policy change aware from conferences and closed groups and support a wider audience to understand and influence positive change within the sector.

Democratising care

In order to help democratise the care debate we are also interviewing key figures in health and social care and sharing their interviews on our YouTube and podcasts. We will be covering subjects such as race and care, workforce equality, understanding disability rights, technology and social prescribing. Managers interested in these areas can share this with their teams.
One of the key themes of these interviews is that the questions we ask interviewees will come from people working in or experiencing health and social care. We will be sharing interviews from CQC, Care England, Skills for Care and disability rights lawyers. We also ask our interviewees ‘cactus questions’, which are ‘prickly questions about health and social care’ such as ‘do you think that the NHS steals social care staff?’!

Knowledge is not just the privilege of those in senior positions but also those working on the front line. So, in the new year we will be sharing voices rarely heard in mainstream media such as care co-ordinator’s and family members fighting to improve the standards of loved ones in psychiatric hospital.

Enabling care staff to change the law

One of the lesser-used ways of making change from the ground-up is through responding to government consultations. In April 2019, the Ministry of Justice put out a call for evidence on how they should amend the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. But very few people were aware of the consultation which meant they were unable to have their views represented. We held a webinar where we heard from different practitioners about their views of how the Code of Practice should change. We submitted a joint response to the consultation based on those views.

Time is always tight in care services, but the more managers can support staff and clients to respond to consultations and engage in the care debate the more we can have our lived experiences heard and make positive change happen.

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