A N N E R U S S E L L
I trained in social work on one of the first degree courses in England and became one of the new breed of ‘generic’ social workers who were qualified in all areas of social work. This brave experiment fashioned my whole career and I had the privilege of working in many varied settings and experienced many different roles from child care, mental health, adult care and practice teaching.
The principle of working in partnership was paramount to me and it was the golden thread that ran through every aspect of my career: partnership with clients, social work colleagues and other organisations. I finished my career in a position that truly reflected this principle, being seconded from the Local Authority (LA) into the National Health Service (NHS) as a strategic regional manager.
I have chosen Continuing care guidelines because …
… it represents partnership working at the highest level. The UK Department of Health’s NHS Continuing Care guidelines policy covers one of the most contentious areas of joint working between the LA and the NHS and has been an area fraught with mistrust between the partner organisations due to the high costings involved. These national guidelines were first introduced in Oct 2007 and, although welcomed, the difficulties between the two organisations continued at the highest levels. However, following the development of a small advisory group of representatives from both health and social care, the 2009 updated guidelines were adopted by the two organisations and promoted by a national roadshow fronted by the mixed advisory group.
In a climate of great public funding restraints, tensions in this area remain but senior members of both organisations continue to work together in a spirit of partnership that didn’t exist prior to the development of that advisory group.