Tuesday 20 January 2015

BBC news, hospitals and Oxford hospices...

I'm not a morning person. Especially not in winter, so getting up in the dark to do BBC Breakfast and other interviews was a trial. I know I'm being wimpish! And of course a great opportunity to talk about how charities and social enterprises working together with health professionals deliver better health outcomes in hospitals and in the community. 

Of course I had to battle against the usual stereotype of charities as do gooding volunteers dispensing tea and sympathy. Surprised to see the Royal College of Nursing being so dismissive, indeed patronising, about the value of our intervention in the long term. I'm afraid they are out of touch with the nurses in casualty in the hospitals who have professional home from hospital services like those the Red Cross and RVS provide. The BBC breakfast package this morning had a good case study along these lines, of a trained volunteer helping frail elderly people get out of hospital quickly. 

Nurses and doctors are keen on the professional support they get in A+E from charites who work with them to tackle problems like a lack of suitable transport to get older people home and ensure they are looked after there.

Look also at services like Voluntary Action Rotherham, who have helped cut casualty admissions by 20% through supporting people in the community.

Or the collaboration in Calderdale and Kirklees between Community Transport and Age UK. This provides a home from hospital and befriending service, which enables older people to stay independent and safe at home. 

I did a round of interviews and then off to do my new trustee role at the Helen and Douglas House childrens hospice. I'm a new trustee and its a good thing, I'm sure, for me to see governance from the other side of the table! I know many charity CEOs have trustee positions and this can only be for the good. 

Helen House was the first children's hospice in the country - set up in Oxford and then joined by a hospice for young adults. I had my induction last week. A very professional day when I learnt much about safeguarding amongst other things. 

This will now be my second board meeting and I'm blogging from the coach up to Oxford!

January has proved to be incredibly busy and in many ways very challenging. I'm hearing a lot from CEO members about pending cuts in council spending. I'm afraid it will be a similar story whoever wins in May; austerity is here to stay. 

On that subject Acevo was at the launch yesterday of the "Inclusive Economy" report, jointly chaired by Ed Balls and Larry Summers. The launch was at the FT and featured a number of what we might call ‘macro’ recommendations about the changing world of work, technology and the fight against inequality. 

It might be a little unfair - given the scope of the report - but as my Policy Director pointed out, a report that was supposed to be about inclusive prosperity was strangely silent on the role of the third sector and what we do every day to help families and communities stay strong in the fact of change. An inclusive economy requires social cohesion and strong communities. It requires an effective third sector and great social leaders. I'm afraid too many politicians on the left and right still don’t get the point.

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