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Kent County Council is bringing together people supported by adult social care, carers, the care market, voluntary sector, and national organisations in the first Kent Care Summit on 2 March 2022.

Located at the Detling Showground in Kent, the focus of the summit is to share industry insights, people’s experiences of care and support and their visions for the future. By inviting representatives from all areas of the sector to tackle challenges and create solutions, the aim is to agree future priorities and actions to develop the future Kent care market.

Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council, said: “Even before the pandemic, the care sector was facing enormous challenges which have now been further exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19.

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“Care provision and the market needs to adapt to best fulfil the needs of our carers and residents and so, to tackle this head on I am delighted to be hosting Kent’s first Care Summit, bringing the sector together in Kent to discuss care challenges and solutions and commit to a new Kent Care Market Action Plan to shape a better future for Adult Social Care together.”

A panel of local and national care sector representatives will discuss the current status and future of social care and will answer questions that will help the summit develop ideas and action plans.

Residents not already attending are also invited to get involved via Let’s Talk Kent.

Here, questions that will be put to the panel on the day will be posted shortly and outputs will be shared after the event.

The panel of local and national care sector representatives includes: Michelle Dyson, Director General for Adult Social Care, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC); Oonagh Smyth, Skills for Care CEO; Isaac Samuels, Social Care Future; Claudia Sykes OBE, Social Enterprise Kent; Vic Rayner OBE, National Care Forum; Jonathan Shaw, Kent Further Education Strategic Director; Adam Hutchinson, KICA Vice Chair; Paul Bentley, Chief Executive Designate, Kent and Medway ICS, Accountable Officer, Kent and Medway CCG; and Natalie Reed, Head of Inspection CQC.

“We recognise the enormous contribution carers make as the main providers of community care and that they should be supported in the ways in which they want to be,” continued Roger. “The services and support that we design in the future must be flexible and able to adapt to meet the needs of a wide range of people; therefore delivering greater levels of choice and control is a priority.

“This will not be a ‘one off’ event but is instead intended to be the beginning of the conversation progressing and updating outcomes regularly.”

In 2020, Kent County Council commissioned assistive technology care provider Alcove to roll out digital support packages to around 2,000 elderly and vulnerable residents. It meant that Kent residents benefitted from a unique videophone system, enabling digitally disadvantaged elderly residents and those with a learning disability to receive virtual care and health consultations, as well as video contact with friends and family while minimising the coronavirus infection risk to other residents and care staff.

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