Good quality health and care services matter enormously to Essex residents. Medical advances and improvements to care mean more people than ever before are able to live longer lives.
This is a good thing. But it means that the number of people who will require care at some point in their lives is growing – not just elderly residents but also younger adults with learning disabilities.
By way of example, in Essex alone, we expect the number of people needing social care support to grow from 35,000 now to more than 140,000 by 2030. Our current health and social care system wasn’t designed to deal with this scale of a challenge.
With growing agreement that the current health and social care system is unsustainable, we need to consider new ways to ensure that Essex residents can experience good all care services - not only today but in the future as well.
Issues of health and social care transcend organisations. Narrowly defined, more than £4 billion is spent by public agencies on health and care across Essex. Over twenty statutory bodies are responsible for health services in Essex and Essex County Council alone commissions services from more than six hundred providers.
To consider the issue in the round, Essex County Council asked Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett to lead an independent commission to look at the health and social care system. In January 2103, the ‘Who Will Care?’ Commission was launched, tasked with making recommendations as to how care could be improved for the benefit of all.
Sir Thomas’ independent Commission has brought together individuals with local and national expertise. Since its launch nine months ago, the 'Who Will Care?’ Commission has talked with hundreds of citizens, patients, practitioners, and local authorities and health bodies across Essex, Southend and Thurrock so as to develop a set of recommendations which will be relevant not only in Essex but also across the country. The Commission reported its findings in September 2013.
How You Got Involved
Since its launch in January 2013, the ‘Who Will Care?’ Commission has zigzagged across Essex, meeting with Essex residents, health professionals, providers and other interested parties – including, of course, the NHS, local authorities, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Healthwatch. This engagement has helped shape the Commission’s thinking and informed the development of its final report [An accessible Word version is also available] published in September 2013.
In sessions across Essex, hosted by public bodies, by charities, and by community groups, the Commission met Essex residents. At libraries, hospitals, council buildings, charities’ offices, community centres, school fetes and sports days and on the seafront, we spoke with schoolchildren and with nonagenarians, with those in rude health and with those who have complex health conditions.
We have had the opportunity to listen to a great many perspectives and opinions. We wanted to hear from you about your experience of health and social care in Essex. We are incredibly grateful for your taking the time to share your views and would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have helped the Commission and encouraged us to be brave, innovative and realistic.
In addition to this website, you can also keep up to date with the work of the Commission through its Twitter feed @whowillcarecom.