Page 10 - TalkingCare_Issue3_WebVersion_OACP Winter 2017
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 In conversation with
  Councillor Judith Heathcoat...
  only health, but other local authorities in the County – a county unitary authority for example would ensure that the people of Oxfordshire had a more seamless service without duplication.”
Oxfordshire has a shortage of labour affecting not just adult social care, but other sectors too. Judith says, “In Oxfordshire, we have near full employment, a high cost of living and a shortage of affordable accommodation with house prices almost level with London. These conditions can make it difficult for ‘key workers’ to find a foothold to work from. I don’t believe this is purely an Oxfordshire problem, I think other areas are having similar problems too. It is something that I recognise and will do my best to highlight.”
Due to pressures on the sector, Adult Social Care is often in the media spotlight, not least because of the vulnerability of the thousands of people cared for and supported 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “I think that the press has an important role to play in the community, reporting responsibly”, says Judith. “Certainly some news reports about social care have been, at times, and in some circumstances, sensationalised and inaccurate, offering readers, viewers and listeners just one side of the story, focussing on the bad. Yet there are so many more good news stories out there that are never told. Yes, of course it is right that bad practice should be highlighted and acted upon, for the good of all concerned. But let’s have unbiased accounts ­ and highlight the good too!”
to ask...what else are we being
told that’s not right? Our recent Oxfordshire Adult Social Care
Annual Survey states that there
is a high level of satisfaction
with services. Feedback outlines
that front line workers are doing
a ‘fantastic job’, can be 'trusted', 'listen', 'and communicate well ‘ and provide’ good knowledge and advice'. This is really good news and should be celebrated!”
“In my role it is important that I keep up­ to­date with what’s happening in Adult Social Care, so I read extensively. I also have 1:1s with the Director of Adult Social Care (Kate Terroni) and other senior officers in the Directorate and I undertake visits across the County, especially to our extra care housing (ECH).”
“Every day is different, I don’t have a typical day, that’s what makes my role really interesting. However, I frequently leave the house around 6.30am and often don’t get home until 8.30pm or later on some days. Early in the day I work on emails and organise my diary. At 9.00am I may have a media briefing, which could include a radio or TV Interview. I could then go to an all­day briefing on, for example, safeguarding for the rest of the day. Or, I can have a day that starts at 9.00am with a 1:1 with Kate, followed by an adult social care briefing, a two­hour [Cabinet] Members’ Briefing, an all Members’ briefing on the Council draft budget, followed by an all Members’ briefing on Unitary/Devolution.” It’s not uncommon for this demanding schedule to be followed by a Parish Council Meeting in a village of her Council Division of Faringdon, and to be double­booked. “At 6.00pm this evening I also have a Governor Meeting (for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust) in Thame.”
Judith works hard for Adult Social Care. “I am elected to interpret information, to set and implement strategy. Due process and consultation needs to take its course,
patience and informed
perspectives can and do enhance the decision­making process ­ ‘no decision about me, without me’ applies.”
As a Governor on the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Board in addition to Oxford Health, and a member of the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group Transformation Board, Judith is privileged to have a bird’s eye view of health and social care; “I can see the whole, which is very helpful.”
Alongside her husband’s support, Judith singles out her Father as a mentor and inspiration. “I could discuss anything with my Father. His encouraging words ­ ‘Come on, you can do it’, still resonate in my mind today. I draw on them for strength, so that I can make a difference to the lives of people in my public service roles every day.”
References:
Oxfordshire County Council Joint Commissioning Comments, Compliments and Complaints Service Annual Report 2015­16
       ‘Every day is different, I don’t have a typical day, that’s what makes my role really interesting’.
 ‘There are so many more good news stories out there that are never told. Yes, of course it is right that bad practice should be highlighted and acted upon, for the good
of all concerned. But let’s have unbiased accounts ­ and highlight the good too!’
 “A balanced view is what needs to be reported. Quality news, from which, people can formulate their own perspective. Otherwise, we may be forced
Editor’s Note:
Kind thanks go to
Councillor Judith Heathcoat for agreeing to this interview and for taking time
out of her busy schedule to speak to Talking Care Magazine.
 10|TALKING CARE|ISSUE 3|2017




































































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