Investment in the care sector, through technology to support people to live independently for longer was the focus of a roundtable discussion at the Liberal Democrats Party Conference.
The roundtable, sponsored by Bournemouth University and including BU’s Professor of Social Care Lee-Ann Fenge, spoke about the need for investment into the care sector to support care workers in having the tools to effectively conduct their jobs, and the services they can offer to those in need to support independent living.
Attended by Liberal Democrats deputy leader and health and care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP, as well as Liberal Democrat councillors, the event was a chance to outline key research and hear from sector voices in support of technological investment to allow people to stay in their homes and make the use of apps and hardware to support their individual needs.
The roundtable came after a pledge by the Liberal Democrats of £5bn in free personal care should they be elected at the next general election.
Daisy Cooper MP confirmed that health and social care will be the biggest issue for the Liberal Democrats party at the next General Election.
Chaired by former MP Paul Burstow, the roundtable was led by Policy Connect, the Social Care Institute for Excellence and the TSA.
Other key themes at the event included an understanding of the importance of language, to ensure that policies are created that help people live better for longer across all stages of life, not just when they reach point of crisis or need for care and the need to think about true integration between health and care, both through technology and workforce, to ensure a robust future for the care industry. Another key focus of discussion was how family carers and volunteers play a crucial role in care, and how best practice taking part in pockets of the UK might be scalable to larger areas to the benefit of users.
Professor Lee-Ann Fenge said, “Technology has the potential to really advance the care industry and help people live better, healthier lives at all stages of life, but it must be implemented with users at the centre. At BU, we’re working to include public voices in all stages of our education, research and practice to ensure that we’re learning lessons and doing research based on what individuals need and to make sure we’re asking the right questions. This needs to be done at a policy level too, to ensure that any future spend in the care sector is done with care users as the focus – I am pleased that we were able to have this important conversation with MPs and councillors who can help to lobby for these important changes.”
More information about BU’s links with policy can be found on the BU website.