Readers’ letters 25 June 2009: managers’ responsibilities, better GP screening, home care in Islington, exaggerated claims
Don’t take the budget-focused view
Simon Heng spoke in his column (“Managers must lead now”, 11 June), about the role of managers in ensuring service users receive the care and support they need in the way they want.
He is absolutely right – managers set the culture of an organisation. They can influence whether it has a target-centred, budget-focused approach, which can lead to social workers being de-skilled and not encouraged to work with service users; or whether it has an approach, which, while still aware of what resources are available and of the need to use public money wisely, lets social workers really find out what service users want and need. Good managers will argue alongside social workers and service users for appropriate resources and services.
Team managers are often in a difficult position and need at times to state assertively that service users are entitled to choice and control and that social workers should be treated with respect. All managers need to remember why they came into social work – in most cases it was to try to make people’s lives better and that may mean making themselves unpopular.
From my time in practice and as a team manage I remember many good managers and some poor ones – the good ones were those who maintained their connection with practice issues and social work values.
Let’s take courage from what Simon says and forge alliances with service users to ensure they do not suffer from the cuts in services which seem likely to be confronting social care in the near future.
Ruth Cartwright, professional officer, BASSW
Better GP screening needed for adults
While I am pleased to hear that there is going to be a national strategy for adults with autism, I am very concerned that a vast number of adults, especially those with Asperger’s, will never have been diagnosed, despite experiencing difficulties throughout their lives, particularly in making and sustaining social relationships and dealing with change.
There also seem to be no services for assessing such adults. I hope these issues will be addressed, but this will require all GPs to screen adult patients who present with addictive, obsessive/compulsive behaviours, communication difficulties, social problems, depression and other mental health issues.
Name and address withheld
Islington commits to care in the home
Ahead of the government’s green paper on the reform of adult care and support we know many service users and care professionals are waiting to see how they will be affected.
Here in Islington, at least, we’ve been making changes for some years to guarantee equality for all and to make sure we continue to be an employer of choice for care workers.
Our re-ablement service, home care and support for family carers means in Islington, older people and the disabled can expect a high quality of life as standard – regardless of whether their needs are moderate or complex.
Many older people and their carers would have been dismayed and confused by figures out this week regarding the number of councils not providing care in the home for the housebound and disabled (“Age Concern/Help the Aged slam care rationing in top councils”,).
Age Concern’s report questions how councils can be rated “excellent” when they do not provide help with washing, dressing and going to the toilet as standard for those with moderate needs. We agree with them and we’re proud that Islington is one of a small minority of councils that has the top rating for the quality of its social care and provides services for people with moderate needs.
If we can keep people independent and at home for as long as possible by supporting them with professional, efficient and motivated staff, that’s worth investing in.
Cllr Ursula Woolley, Executive member for health and adult social care, Islington Council
Save Niemöller for real fascism
I was appalled by the misappropriation of Pastor Niemöller’s words (letters, 11 June) and the diminishing of the experiences of the victims of Nazism it implied and the insensitivity making it the “letter of the week”. Yes, the responses of the tabloid newspapers to social work stories can be hostile and unpleasant but we are not living in a fascist dictatorship, and nobody is being transported to the gas chambers. This disproportionate sense of victimhood is sadly all too common and is, in my view, a barrier to developing public understanding of the dilemmas social workers face.
John Crossland, Hove
These letters are published in the 25 issue of Community Care magazine