Caring Communities 2016

In partnership with ITN Productions

For the second year running, Care England has joined forces with ITN Productions to produce an online news-style programme entitled “Caring Communities” exploring the complex role of care and the remarkable initiatives happening in the sector as demand grows exponentially. Introduced by renowned television journalist and Alzheimer's Society Ambassador Angela Rippon, “Caring Communities” examines some of the fundamental issues such as the impact of the Government’s new “national living wage”, the ongoing difficulty in obtaining funding, the need for more workforce support, and best practice to ensure continuing high quality care. 



In the midst of the leader’s debates we sought to bring together a different kind of discussion. Care England’s aim was to gather prominent figures in the sector to discuss the care act, integration and supporting the workforce; all in front of a live audience of care leaders, innovators and care givers.

The debate was held at the Hospital Club, Covent Garden, on 27th April, and will feature as part of ‘Caring  Communities’ - the news-style programming partnership between ITN Productions and Care England for 2015.

Hosted by leading broadcaster Bridgid Nzekwu, the panel included broadcaster, journalist, presenter and Alzheimer’s Society ambassador, Angela Rippon; Chief Executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green OBE; Deputy Director of Citizens UK, Mathew Bolton who is leading Citizens UK’s national campaign on social care and prolific blogger and health campaigner, Beth Britton.

Whilst the leaders across the political spectrum have got personal during their campaigns, the Care England and ITN Productions live debate also got personal, but in a markedly different sense. Matthew Bolton, exclaimed, “These are the people looking after our loved ones but we’re paying them so little that they can’t even look after theirs!”

So many of us have had personal experiences of family members to draw on when considering the care sector. Many have had an extremely positive experience of care which often goes untold as Beth Britton is quick to point out. One of the key aims of the programme has been to redress the balance and negative perception of care.

Training and supporting those who work in care is paramount to this. Whilst the NHS spend £10k a minute on training, there is precious little training and support in the care sector, as Martin Green explained.

Pre-submitted questions from the audience were tackled by the panel. Maggie Candy from FSHC’s Marlborough Court Care Home asked whether the panel supports the proposal for a proper Minister for Older People, who would focus directly on care & funding issues?

This was unanimously agreed upon as a progressive idea – if that minister has some kind of authority and sway on legislation.

Martin Green felt that an independent commissioner on care might be a better course of action, and Beth Britton echoed the sentiment by suggesting we take politics out of this sector, particularly on the vital issue of funding.
We were left still considering whether the ideal of absolute integration of the care sector and health sector was possible – Angela Rippon told us that integration does exist in the Midlands, where social services were brought into a hospital.

But vulnerable people with health and social care needs have to have a rounded approach – Matthew Bolton told us about an elderly woman who had a plethora of different services arrive at her door, including food and nutritional supplements, but despite this no one realised the most important factor was that she was unable to feed herself.

So communication is fundamental. We hope that the first ever Care England and ITN Productionsdebate serves as a communication tool for the sector. ‘Caring Communities’ will continue to push for fair funding and proportionate regulation, and be a platform for great stories of care to be told.

The live studio debate was bookended by a lively networking session in the Loft Lounge at the Hospital Club where representatives from diverse parts of the sector found common ground on the improvements and support the sector is striving for.

The event reminded us of the passion in the sector. Every day there is an enormous difference made to people’s lives from those who work across care settings, and you glean a palpable sense of joy in those people from being able to make that difference.

Please let us know about innovative and informative stories that might form part of the ITN Productions and Care England News programme ‘Caring  Communities’ set to be premiered at the Care England Annual Conference in November.

For further information on the project please contact: