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Autumn and Winter Plan September 2021

BASW England statement

The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult, and all our lives have changed in one way or another. We are still living with COVID-19 being in high circulation, and as Winter arrives, the introduction of seasonal flu poses an additional risk particularly for those with needs in relation to physical or mental health, disability and/or in relation to socio-economic factors.

We welcome the statement from the Health and Social Secretary who has outlined five ‘pillars’:

  1. Strengthening pharmaceutical defences with interventions such as vaccines
  2. Testing, Trace and Isolate
  3. Supporting the NHS and Social Care
  4. Encouraging people to keep seasonal illnesses at bay
  5. Pursue an international approach

The UK Government also announced that they will be prepared to make face coverings mandatory once more in England in certain settings, and COVID passports will be held in reserve.

We note the measure to start booster vaccines, starting with those in the first round of vaccines. The Government is currently conducting a consultation on mandatory vaccination, and BASW England will shortly be consulting members with a survey to identify views.

The Government have announced extra money for the NHS through the health and social care levy, but we are concerned that this fails to recognise the funding constraints that are already on social care and which have a direct impact on social workers and the people, families and communities we support. With increased risk due to COVID-19 and seasonal flu, there is a real risk that social care will be put in the impossible position of being unable to respond to the level of demand.

Proposals for hospital discharge: Discharge to Assess

Appropriate resourcing in terms of staff and services must be available to ensure individuals receive the right service at the right time that is appropriate to their needs.

We maintain our position that the priority must be people’s wellbeing not making space in hospitals.

Discharge to Assess has the potential to shape and influence future delivery models based on discharge decisions – a focus on ‘care’ rather than self -determination, choice and promoting independence.        

Social workers have a unique role and contribution to make in their understanding and application of key legislation. BASW members express concerns that there are shortfalls in these areas in the context of acute settings.

BASW champions the social work role and contribution which is essential in the transition from hospital, utilising knowledge and skills to advocate for and uphold human rights, coordination and oversight, and supporting people with change.