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Escape the invisible asylum – Alex Fox, CEO publishes new book

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, hailed Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus’ new book ‘a wake up call’ for health and social care services. Launched on Wednesday 28 January 2018 at innovation foundation Nesta, over 70 people overcame blizzard conditions to hear Halima Khan, Executive Director in conversation with Alex Fox and Simon Stevens. ‘A new health and social care system: escaping the invisible asylum’ says that values behind Shared Lives and Homeshare “are still shockingly radical, but feel entirely natural”.

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Simon Stevens said the book is a provocation for the kind of services that currently exist, as well as carefully demonstrating the practical ways that health and social care can be more human in future.

‘A new health and social care system: escaping the invisible asylum’ looks at our public services through the lens of more human ways of supporting people such as Shared Lives, now used by thousands of UK people. It brings into visibility the ways in which we inadvertently squander the potential of people with long-term support needs and the creativity and caring capacity of families and front-line workers. It shows that the beliefs, rules and economics of our public services are entrenching the wrong approaches.

How do we find sustainable and human ways to care for people with long-term needs?  Why are public service approaches so often found to be letting down disabled and older people and creating toxic environments in which well-motivated people feel under pressure to do the wrong thing?

Drawing on the ethos, practices and economics of new and emerging approaches, the book goes on to propose a new model for public services to replace the ‘invisible asylum.’ It argues that our new care and health system will be focused on achieving and maintaining wellbeing, rather than on reacting to crisis or attempting to ‘fix’ people. It will connect people and be prepared to measure its harm as well as the good it does. It will need to ask more of us as well as offering more. Responsibilities, resources, and risks will be more fairly and transparently shared between citizens, families and services. The book offers steps which all of us could take to achieve this vision. Read an extract and find out more on Alex’s blog