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‘Health and Care Bill – why social work’s voice matters’

​​​​​​​BASW chair Gerry Nosowska on how BASW England is speaking up for social work as the Health and Care Bill progresses through Parliament

Political developments in the NHS impact on social workers. Some of us work in the NHS. All of us work with health. And we see the impact of health on wellbeing.

That’s why, even though the Health and Care Bill only mentions social work once, BASW England is committed to influencing it.

It doesn’t always work the other way round. Social care (and social work) can be seen politically as there to support health, as just about ‘a bit of care’ or ‘going into a home.’ The essential therapeutic role social workers have, our expertise in holding everything together, and our commitment to ensuring people have a voice about what happens in their lives gets forgotten.

Well not if we - BASW - can help it. Whenever something is afoot in the NHS, we speak up for social work and we do this alongside people with lived experience.

In this case, the Bill impacts us in terms of integration structures, potential for inspection of local authority adult services, data collection and most specifically hospital discharge.

BASW England Adults Group, staff and experts by experience have put together a briefing on the implications of the Health and Care Bill.

As Chair of BASW, I will be giving evidence at the Public Bill Committee on 9 September. This is what we want to highlight:

  • Social care matters to everyone. Any of us could need it, and the NHS would collapse without it. And social work is central to social care.
  • This Bill must not take the focus away from the need to reform adult social care. Social care needs to be strengthened and sustainable in order for plans around integration and collaboration to work.
  • There must be social work and expert by experience voice and representation into new integrated structures.
  • Any system for inspection should have lived experience at its heart and be about citizen accountability.
  • We should be gathering data we need to increase equity for example data about self-funders and about under-met and unmet need
  • The priority for hospital discharge is people’s wellbeing not making space in hospitals.

Members who want to watch Gerry’s appearance in front of the Health and Care Bill Committee can watch online from around 4pm on Thursday 9 September.

Get involved – help us lobby policymakers

Please get involved in BASW’s lobbying for this Bill and other policy developments. For further information please contact BASW England.