Why it is important to pass on our learning

Cllr Paulette Hamilton talks about her meeting with a delegation from South Korea, who came to Birmingham to hear about the city council's approach to improvements in health and social care.

As cabinet member for health and social care I’m determined to use this role as an ambassador for change, to make a difference and improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

And it is important to pass on our learning – what we are doing well, and how we can all do things better.

On this note, I had the pleasure of meeting a delegation from the South Korean second city of Busan, who were keen to learn from Birmingham City Council’s approach to improvements in health and social care.

They were a wonderful group of people, and really interested in how we do things in Britain’s second city!

The concept of caring for and supporting older people in their community is fairly new in South Korea. They told me that their residents don’t really know a great deal yet about what community support looks like in reality, so the delegates wanted some real insight in how it works over here, so they can take back that learning to Busan.

I told them about how we work very closely with our health partners and about what we have been doing to address complex issues such as delayed discharge from hospital. It is well known that we have had significant issues with older people not being discharged from hospital because they are unable to safely return home without some intermediary care, support and therapy.

I talked about how we have been working closely with, and investing in, local communities to reduce the length of time people spend in hospital, with a really targeted focus on prevention, one of the council’s priorities, ensuring that people don’t lose capacity or independence as a result of a stay in hospital. Our task now is to embed these benefits, including reductions in the volume of long-term social care required across the whole city.

When asked about what they should prioritise, I said they needed to have a clear vision from the outset, ensure there is real partnership engagement, invest in your communities and involve both current and future service users, as we have been doing here in Birmingham.

Older citizens have accumulated a vast range of skills, experience, knowledge and wisdom, and we must harness this if we are to be a great place to grow old. My final thought to our visitors was: ‘involve all stakeholders so services are shaped that are sustainable and meet the changing needs and demands of your citizens’.

Something we must continue to do here in Birmingham to ensure the city is a great place to grow old in.


This blog was posted on 27 September 2019


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