THERE’S a lot of chest beating about cuts to NHS spending, in particular mental health services.
Every week there is another horror story; of how young people are being put into adult mental health wards; vulnerable adults are being kept in long term institutions; and people are being sent miles from home for treatment, leaving them feeling isolated and even more at risk at a time when they should feel secure and comfortable.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not happy with continued budget cuts because it has a ripple effect on every aspect of the service be it public or private. At ubu we have had to do some incredible mathematical calculations at times to ensure we don’t cut services to the people we serve and maintain staffing levels, it certainly isn’t why I came into this field.
Improving quality of life, health and Care was my primary motivation and it still is. At all times I put the people we serve first and think how we can deliver a better service to those who turn to us. To this end I find myself battling with; colleagues who want more resources; families who want their loved ones to live in one of our uStep models; and commissioners who scream that they are cash strapped every time we look to improve our service.
My biggest frustration is that uStep provides a very simple answer, yet many are so blinkered with outdated services to see the the value. It has evolved over years of hearing those who we have supported and us seeking the optimum solution in caring for some of the most vulnerable and at risk people in society.
When I came into the profession many vulnerable adults were still locked away in institutions or long term hospital care with no chance of interaction or contribution to their local communities or with friends and families.
Society’s attitude has changed immensely. Where the default was to shut people away, now Government policy is to actually have vulnerable adults at the heart of society making a contribution and integrating.
Yet recently we seem to have come full circle and when everyone acknowledges that having vulnerable adults at the heart of the community in settings such as uStep, why are we shutting more people than ever away and it appears the number in hospital long stay places are increasing, not decreasing.
There seems to be a disconnect. To improve the lives of the people we care for there has to be an upfront investment. uStep does demand more resources initially when a person is either released from hospital. As our Enablers support and work alongside the people we serve to work out how they would like to live their lives it demands more time. Yet, very quickly it is clear to see uStep delivers real improvements to the lives of the people we serve and cuts spending for society.
Time and again we have seen how people’s lives have improved, their families feel more content knowing their loved ones won’t be locked away or moved into an institution and society reaps the value premium.
Put bluntly we all benefit because it can save us money in the long run. So if the benefits are clear and the eventual outcome is better care and support, more cost effectively, why is it taking so long to implement?
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