Who Cares? Debate

200 Islanders share views on the ageing population and how it will affect delivery of care at lively public meeting

On 12th November, around 200 Islanders attended a lively public meeting, organised by Family Nursing & Home Care (FNHC),the leading provider of community nursing and care services in Jersey, to discuss Jersey’s ability to deliver high standards of care to elderly islanders in the future.

The debate event, which was also attended by several senior civil servants and politicians, including the incoming Health Minister Deputy Andrew Green, saw four expert panel members deliver their thoughts before audience members were given an opportunity to ask questions and deliver their own views. 

Key themes

‘I am delighted that so many people turned out for the event, which was focused on a very emotive issue,’ said Julie Gafoor, CEO, FNHC. ‘There were several key themes that emerged from the discussion including the need for more support for volunteer/family carers as well as encouraging more young people into the care industry.

‘The question of choice was also central, giving islanders the choice to stay at home longer but coupled with this the need for us all to take some personal responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. Interlinking subjects such as social isolation and the need for better 24-hour care were also discussed. Interestingly, Richard Humphries talked about how other countries are beginning to view the need for care coordinators as essential, single points of contacts who can make navigating the care system simple at what is often a stressful time.’

Long Term Care Scheme

Sue Duhamel, policy and strategy director at Social Security, kicked off the event by talking through the Long Term Care Scheme, a programme which the States has put in place to fund care for the elderly in the future. 

You can access information on the Long Term Care scheme by clicking on this sentence. 

Ms Duhamel set the scene for the debate by outlining the changing shape of the population; in 1950 a man could be expected to reach the age of 77 and draw a pension for 12 years, a figure, which hadn’t changed a great deal in 100 years.  She then went on to state that today a man can expect to live to 86 years and draw a pension for 21 years and by 2050 a man may live to 91, living for 26 years beyond today’s retirement age of 65.

Care at home

Ms Duhamel was followed by director of system redesign and delivery at the States of Jersey Health and Social Services, Rachel Williams, former States of Guernsey minister, Peter Roffey and assistant director of policy at the King’s Fund (an independent UK health policy think tank), Richard Humphries.

It was apparent that the panel was broadly in favour of implementing strategies that will allow elderly to stay in their own homes for longer. However, it was acknowledged that this is not without challenges including the growing issue of social isolation.  Discussion also centred around the need for high quality support and respite for carers as supporting a loved one in the home for longer can be a challenge and respite is often needed. It was accepted that if more people were in their homes for longer, the introduction of services such as a 24 hour care support team would become a requirement but also more affordable for the island, ensuring islanders have access to help at any time of day or night if they are alone. 

More good quality care staff needed

Linking to the theme of care in the home, the critical need to recruit and retain good quality care staff and the importance of encouraging young people into the sector became a recurrent theme. An influx of young, well-trained carers would go some way to solving the issue of how high quality care can be delivered.

It was acknowledged by Richard Humphries that an ageing population is something to be proud of and that older people can offer a lot to society. It was suggested that consideration should be given to how we can help the transition  of older islanders into more sedentary roles for many jobs which are physically demanding.  

For more detailed information about the debate including a transcript or summary of the presentations given by Sue Duhamel and Rachel Williams, and a summary of the Question & Answer session please contact us here.


The debate team

Hamish Marett-Crosby - Compère

Former JEP and BBC journalist, Hamish Marett-Crosby, will be our compère. Hamish, who is now retired and thereby has a personal interest in the debate topic, is a volunteer for Macmillan, helping to organise The Macmillan Jersey Prostate Cancer Support Group. This group, which in 2011 received The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, is dedicated to raising awareness of this cancer and giving support to those diagnosed both before and after treatment. Hamish also produced and scripted “Everyman’s Journey” a radio programme on Prostate Cancer, a CD copy of which has become an important tool in raising public awareness of this disease; nearly 10,000 copies have been distributed. 

Peter Roffey

Peter Roffey is a Guernseyman who has enjoyed a varied career from driving buses to India, as a BBC senior broadcast journalist and also as an elected Guernsey States Member. Peter was Guernsey’s youngest Deputy when elected in 1982 at the age of 23. He served for 14 years on the former Board of Health and then the newly formed HSSD. Peter was the last President of the BoH and the first minister of HSSD.  In the course of that time Peter, together with the President of the Social Security Department, steered through Guernsey’s ground breaking “Long Term Care Insurance Scheme” which pays for residential care and nursing care for those who require it in Guernsey. 

Richard Humphries

Richard joined The King's Fund, a UK independent health policy think tank, in 2009 to lead on social care and work across the NHS and local government. He is a recognised national commentator and writer on social care reform, the funding of long-term care and the integration of health and social care, including health and wellbeing boards. He has led the Fund’s work in supporting the Barker Commission on the future of health and social care.

A graduate of LSE, his professional background is social work, and over the past 35 years he has worked in a variety of roles, including as a director of social services and health authority chief executive (the first combined post in England) and in senior roles in the Department of Health. Richard is a non-executive director of Housing & Care 21, a large national provider of housing & care services, and a columnist for the Local Government Chronicle. He is also co-chair of the associates' network of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and a Fellow of the RSA.

Rachel Williams

Rachel has worked in and with health and social services for 22 years, and has worked in Jersey since 2010. In the NHS she worked in GP practice, small and large hospitals and both Adults and Older Adults mental health services. Rachel is responsible for directing the transformational change programme in health and social care (commonly known as ‘the White Paper’ or P82 ‘A New Way Forward for Health and Social Care’). Before coming to Jersey, Rachel was a Director at KPMG, where she worked for 12 years, leading their whole health economy transformation and telehealth/telecare work, as well as leading numerous turnaround projects and being heavily involved in the Department of Health’s Whole System Demonstrator and Integrated Care Pilot programmes. Rachel has also worked with the MOD, DEFRA and the Department for Education and takes a keen interest in the voluntary sector, having been on the Board of a domestic violence charity, led National Trust projects and volunteered on overseas work.

Sue Duhamel

Sue has spent most of her working life in the public sector working across a range of key sectors. Since 2003, Sue has been employed at Social Security and is now the policy and strategy director there. In this role she has been heavily involved with the design and implementation of income support and more recently the new Long Term Care (LTC) scheme, set up to provide financial support to Jersey residents who are likely to need long-term care for the rest of their lives, either in their own home or in a care home.