Working together: an example from Hampshire


Responding to COVID-19: voices from our membership

COVID-19 has profoundly changed our lives. One possible positive change is changing how we work and collaborate with one another, as we face this virus together. We asked Anne Meader, Chair of the Hampshire Neurological Alliance and Secretary of Carers Together, to share her positive experience during these unprecedented times.

Bronze Command is go

In Hampshire, close collaboration between the voluntary sector and statutory services through this crisis has meant we have been able to respond quickly and appropriately to support people affected by neurological conditions and their carers.

The Adults’ Health and Care Department, Bronze Command consulted with carers and professionals at operational level and agreed to set up a ‘Bronze Command Workstream’ for carers. The group includes three carers support organisations, operational professionals, the commissioning team and Hampshire Young Carers.

Back in April, the group began weekly virtual meetings to discuss issues, concerns, share good ideas and ask questions. These were taken up by operational and commissioning staff and actions agreed at each meeting. This included a letter, agreed with police, which allowed identified carers to go out more often during lockdown because of the needs of the person they cared for. For example, to take the cared for person with them to supermarkets, or to go to medical appointments and visits.

Carers and professionals exchange updates at each meeting and in some cases the issues are taken to other command groups for action. For example, a letter from the Director of Adults’ Health and Care has been issued for Partnership Groups on the possible Care Act easements (brought in under the Coronavirus Act 2020) to reassure and ensure inclusion of key stakeholders if this need to happen.

It has been a coproduction process that is welcomed by service users, carers and professionals and is proving the benefit of partnership working.

There is also a Carers Partnership Board led by carers and involving health and social care professionals and voluntary organisations that ensures the implementation of the Joint Carers Strategy.

What next?

My hope is that we are able to continue to collaborate in this way after COVID-19, and for other areas across the country to do the same. It has shown, once again, the value in the voluntary sector working closely with statutory services, in building more effective and responsive support for people affected by neurological conditions and their carers.