Welcome to the Chair’s (first!) Blog
Welcome to my first blog. I would like to start by wishing you all a (belated) happy New Year!
Although CECOPS is a relatively small organisation it is also a growing one and already commissioners and providers up and down the country are working with us.
Our work has also received support from across the health & care sector, such as Health & Safety Executive, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, and Care Quality Commission. I suspect these organisations think as I do, Why would anyone not support an organisation that seeks to ensure that people commissioning, organising, distributing, selling or using such equipment, understand and follow a detailed Code of Practice with the objective of improving standards and outcomes? It is barely believable that these services have been operating for so long without any formally recognised standards!
The Code of Practice promoted by CECOPS has been written to improve provision for disabled and older people, and to help prevent the fatalities and serious injuries that occur each year because equipment fails or is wrongly prescribed or used. Effective commissioning and provision of these services will improve clinical and financial outcomes, and that’s what our works sets out to achieve.
As a disabled person myself, I know how critical the various assistive technologies are to enabling me and other disabled people to achieve maximum self-determination and independence.
Like many disabled people I use a wide range of equipment, which must be carefully chosen. In some cases the advice of professionals has been essential and in other cases it is possible to make my own judgements without outside help. When I do seek advice I want to be assured that the advisors are up to date and are knowledgeable of the pros and cons. But at the moment there are no agreed national standards to ensure they are. How can I be sure I am getting the best advice? In the medicine world we rely upon the standards and training a pharmacist works with, but what about disability equipment, which in many cases is equally as important?
Disability equipment and the various assistive technologies will be an increasing part of all our lives. It will become more sophisticated and should enable more people to continue living in their own homes. Yet it is sometimes seen as an “add-on” to other services. Assistive technology needs to be at the heart of our service for disabled and elderly people. We should regard it as seriously as we regard medical equipment such as pace-makers. Health and social care professionals need to understand that misuse of equipment can cause considerable harm, but the right use can promote independence and better health. And the right equipment must be available.
I became chair of CECOPS because I have witnessed the good and the bad in equipment services and provision. Those who seek accreditation from CECOPS are demonstrating their desire to ensure they play their role in enhancing equipment services for disabled people and promoting the skills of commissioners, providers and users. CECOPS is a self-regulation model, allowing you to drive your own quality improvements. Now is the time to be part of the solution!
Sir Bert Massie CBE
Chairman, CECOPS CIC