Innovation call to address domiciliary care workforce issues

We, alongside the West of England AHSN and Health Education England South West, are proud to be launching an important challenge to find innovative solutions to support the domiciliary social and health care workforce, with £100,000 funding available for pilots in the region.

The UK domiciliary care workforce is under huge pressure, accentuated by COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, domiciliary social care providers were reporting a 46% staff turnover rate in the South West. This challenge is looking for proven solutions that can support this vital resource.

From digital apps, new technology and toolkits to changes in services, systems and processes, we are looking for already proven solutions that are ready for adoption (or adaptation) and spread across the West and South West of England (from Gloucestershire and Wiltshire to Cornwall).

Innovators can apply for a share of the £100,000 funding to test solutions over 12 months in domiciliary care settings, and will receive support from the two AHSNs in finding an organisation to host the trial, with the opportunity to work with a project manager and gather real world evidence. Depending on the results, there is also potential support for regional and national scale up via the AHSN Network.

Whether your background is in the health and social care sector or in industry, if you have a proven solution that could be adopted or adapted to address challenges around supply, skills, leadership, new ways of working or new roles, then you are encouraged to apply. Solutions will have a positive and measurable impact on workforce indicators, such as numbers of domiciliary care workers, satisfaction levels, sickness absence, wellbeing, turnover rates, skills and confidence, leadership, productivity or diversity and inclusion.

Natasha Swinscoe, CEO of the West of England AHSN, said:

“This is such an important challenge. The demand for the provision of health and social care within
people’s own homes has never been greater, but there are very high pressures on this workforce. We need innovative solutions to help solve and support some of the wide-ranging issues in this sector and I’m excited to see what could be out there.”

Debi Reilly, South West Regional Director, Health Education England, said:

“Having the right staff in place, with the right skills, is essential to ensure that domiciliary care services can operate effectively. It is demanding work, both physically and emotionally, and staff are often working remotely and in silo and under huge time pressures. Opportunities for training and career progression is limited. How can we better support and look after people working in domiciliary care? How can we provide more opportunity for learning and development, especially when staff are so busy?”

Nikki Taylor, Programme Manager, South West AHSN, added:

“We’re looking forward to hearing from a variety of innovative organisations with ideas to improve the capacity, capability and wellbeing of the domiciliary care workforce. We’re casting the net wide to attract a range of products and service-based solutions; this could include innovations for managing staff rotas, transport and logistics, information and record sharing to training and career development, personal wellbeing such as mental health resources, gym memberships and peer-to-peer or employee support networks. We hope to be inspired by what’s out there now and excited by the potential for spreading innovation in this sector. So, if you have a proven solution, then we want to hear from you!”

The call for innovation closes at 17.00 on Monday 31 May 2021. Visit the West of England AHSN website for further information and to submit your innovation.

If you are interested in becoming a host organisation, you can also register your interest now.

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