I can’t write this week’s blog without first mentioning the appalling murders in Paris. I was shocked and appalled when I opened my paper on Saturday morning to see the dreadful scenes in this wonderful city. I really hope there will be no more carnage like this but I worry that we will see the same thing on the streets of London. I have been thinking all weekend about the poor people in France who must be going through such a terrible ordeal.
Last week I visited 11 services including eight in Wales. I was particularly impressed by several social inclusion initiatives including the following:
– A person we support at Cwm Hyfryd does voluntary work at a local garden centre.
– A person we support at Ty Newydd has his own allotment. As well as being very proud of the vegetables that he grows, this has helped him get to know a number of local people.
– A person we support at Kingsland Crescent is an active member of the pool team at his local pub.
We continue to experience a difficult time trying to recruit staff. Having spoken to colleagues working for other provider organisations, it is a not a unique challenge facing CMG. I heard last week that unemployment is at its lowest level for seven years in this country which must be a contributory factor. We are working hard to keep our agency usage to a minimum but it is higher than I would like.
We are implementing several initiatives to address the recruitment situation. This includes targeted recruitment at older people, including those who have retired but want to work part-time. We are also looking to recruit apprentices. I think there is scope in some cases for us to be better at retaining staff and we are holding retention workshops with our managers across the organisation to look at what strategies can work. We are also launching our ‘Next Steps’ programme in December which will be a development programme aiming to help people with potential in CMG to obtain the skills they need to get promotion with us.
I attended a meeting of the Transforming Care Provider Forum last week. We discussed the recent NHS England report about the programme to reduce in-patient beds for people with learning disabilities by up to 50% over 3 years. There were a number of provider representatives at the meeting and I was impressed with the way that NHS England and the Local Government Association took on board our ideas and suggestions. The provider sector has a huge wealth of experience and expertise, including managing the moves of many thousands of people from long stay hospitals into community settings over the years much of which is direct relevance to the transforming care programme.