Patricia Bradwell

PatriciaBradwell

Conservative Councillor Mrs Patricia Anne Bradwell is the deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council and sits in the Billinghay and Metheringham division. Patricia is the Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Health Services as well as for Children's Services.


Almost all of us have a dementia story. I doubt there are many who haven’t seen its far reaching effects.

I recently attended a Living Well with Dementia in Lincolnshire event to help showcase the services and support available as well as launch the county council’s new dementia strategy.

It might shock some people to learn that the cost of dementia to the NHS is more than that of cancer, heart disease and stroke combined. There are now more people diagnosed with dementia in the UK than there are that of cancer.

It’s a big challenge to support people but one Lincolnshire County Council absolutely committed to. As more people in Lincolnshire each year are being identified with a dementia type illness, we need to make sure they get the right support at the right time.

I have met many people living with the effects of the disease and all of their stories resonated with me. I believe there is an urgency to ensure local health and social care services across the County are responding to the needs of our residents.

Last week I was privileged to witness best-selling author Wendy Mitchell talk about her experiences of living with dementia. In her words: “Every day is a different day, but you can adapt, you’re not beaten”.

Wendy’s book ‘Somebody I used to Know’ is an inspirational read and an honest account of someone who actually has the disease, I highly recommend it.

Whilst recognising the challenges Wendy talks about the things she can do, things that help and how people might be able to help her.

Now, not everybody is like Wendy, I appreciate not many of us will be planning a skydive any time soon, but there are ways in which to help ‘lift the fog of dementia’. Indeed Wendy talked about how enjoyable it was to try new activities and do things ordinarily you might not have.

Last week I tried ‘Singing for the Brain’. I could see how singing lifted people’s spirits instantly. It was eye (and ear) opening; those in the room with dementia were engaging with other people, laughing their way through songs, they were undeniably happy.

Much progress has been made in the past 5 years since our first dementia strategy was launched. There are a range of services and support now available.

I’m particularly pleased there are now over 19,000 ‘Dementia Friends’ in the county, and the Dementia Family Support Service which since late 2015 has helped over 3,200 people with dementia and their carers in Lincolnshire, is continuing in its vital role.

This represents just a little of the support available, but even so, it is fair to say there is much more we can do to help people both before and after a diagnosis.

We want people to live as fully as possible with dementia and have access to support and services. People, after a diagnosis, should be given the help they need to able to live at home, independently, for longer.

We are also committed to helping carers of people with dementia, of which I’m one myself, indeed carers are most often family members. We know they are at risk of isolation, and those providing care are more likely to experience ill-health.

We will help ensure both people with dementia, and their carers are offered support, information and advice.

It is also vitally important all of us continue to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Again, it might surprise people to know that a third of all dementias are entirely preventable.
What is good for the heart is good for the brain, and can in some instances actually slow the progression of the disease.

By increasing awareness and understanding of dementia among both the public and among professionals we can make a real difference to improving the lives of people living with the disease, and also support those who care for them.

I know how important this issue is to people. Our commitment to the people of Lincolnshire is quite simple; we will do all we can to ensure access to care and support for those who need it.
For information to all dementia services please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/adult-care

Conservative Councillor Mrs Patricia Anne Bradwell is the deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council and sits in the Billinghay and Metheringham division. Patricia is the Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Health Services as well as for Children's Services.

Lincolnshire children’s services provide some of the best support in the country for our vulnerable children and young people, their families and carers.

We are rated by Ofsted as a top authority for providing effective services and considered a leader nationally in the vital areas of safeguarding and wellbeing.

Which is why I was so disappointed to read Karen Lee‘s alarmist column about social care being in crisis and that families and children in Lincolnshire are suffering as a result.

Let me pick up on her points.

The funding to meet a child’s SEND needs, including those associated with autism, is based on detailed assessments. Where a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, appropriate funding is provided to schools, based on their needs. These are reviewed to ensure that the school has the necessary resources to meet the child’s needs.

Here in Lincolnshire we have announced our commitment to SEND support with a planned investment of over £50 million into schools. This will help create an extra 500 special school places, major builds and refurbishments at our special schools to make sure they have facilities to meet all needs and improved support at mainstream schools.

These exciting developments will see a new special school built in Lincoln and a new school will replace the current John Fielding School to provide updated facilities.

Our Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum have played an integral part in ensuring parents views and experiences were at the heart of the new vision. Recently asked to showcase their part in the partnership to ministers and other parent carer forums, they are vital in representing the views of parents and carers who need support for their children.

For early years pre-schools, nurseries and childminders working with children with SEND there is a range of services available in delivering quality early years education and care to all children.

Specialist teachers from locality teams work with looked after children, vulnerable children on a care plan and children at risk of exclusion. They also link in with health and social care colleagues for specific advice and support.

Parents with small children who need specialist support can also tap into the portage service with outreach workers from special schools providing learning in the home to prepare children for starting school.

In Lincolnshire 95% of SEND assessments are completed within the timescale of 20 weeks. Those that take longer are typically more complex and additional reports or assessments are necessary. Any extension on 20 weeks is usually agreed with parents but they can request that the authority complete the EHC Plan at that stage, to be reviewed later. Most parents prefer to wait until all assessments have been completed.

We’ve been working with the local Clinical Commissioning Groups to reduce waiting times for assessments for children and young people and improve the quality of assessments. A new, better process should be fully in place from April next year.

It will be much more responsive to the needs of families, reduce waiting times for assessments and provide more support to children and families, including from health visitors and through schools.

Finally, let me put the picture straight on our nursery schools.

Lincolnshire has five maintained nursery schools, in addition to the 579 early years and childcare providers across the county that provide early education and include nurseries, preschools, schools and childminders.

This is despite Lincolnshire having been funded at the minimum funding rate of £4.30 per pupil per hour since 2017 and this will continue up until 2019/20.

Local authorities do receive supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools, which helps support them to a higher level than other providers

We are waiting for the government to confirm the position beyond 2020 but will work with our maintained nursery schools, including those in Lincoln, to support them in the challenges they have around longer term funding.

There will always be individual cases where parents, carers and their children have particular difficulties which we will strive to solve, but the picture for children’s social care in Lincolnshire is one of solid support.

Maybe Karen Lee should highlight the dedication and commitment of our educational psychologists, occupational therapists, health visitors and school teachers in supporting our most vulnerable young people, rather than scare stories about children’s social care.

Conservative Councillor Mrs Patricia Anne Bradwell is the deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council and sits in the Billinghay and Metheringham division. Patricia is the Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Health Services as well as for Children's Services.

The government has announced that all schools across the country – including those in Lincolnshire – must become academies by 2022.

But is it a good idea to force every school to change? Will it improve our children’s education? And what about choice and local accountability?

As the council’s executive member for children’s services, I take great pride in the wide range of provision in Lincolnshire, no matter how the school is structured.

We currently have a spread of maintained, foundation, faith and grammar schools across the county, plus a large number of academies (mainly secondaries).

In terms of quality, 85% of our schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, including many in the primary sector.

Significantly, most of our primaries are still maintained and under local authority control. They are often very small schools in rural areas, working closely together, with no wish or need to convert.

Against that background, the government’s ill-judged plans to make all schools academies are causing real concern to councillors across the political spectrum.

Crucially, there’s no evidence that academies perform better than maintained schools – and, as I’ve said, most of our maintained primaries are already good or outstanding.

In contrast, we’ve seen our secondary academies slipping behind the national averages for performance over the last two years.

Despite concerns we’ve raised with the Department of Education about particular schools, improvement has either been slow or failed to materialise at all.

I’m sure we’d all agree that when a school is failing, action must be taken, but converting every school into an academy will not tackle these issues.

As regards choice, schools rightly value the option to become academies – and the support they receive from local councils to do so – where they believe it’s in the best interests of their students and communities.

But forcing the change upon every school goes against what many parents, governors and teachers want.

I’m also concerned that the proposed removal of parent-governors will further weaken vital local voices in our schools.

More generally, the replacement in our local education system of elected councils, with remote civil servants in charge, raises serious questions about accountability.

It’s also clear these proposals will have major financial implications for local authorities, at a time when communities are already suffering the impact of significant budget cuts.

Put simply, enforced so-called “academisation” is anti-democratic, and there’s no evidence it will do anything but deny choice.

Schools don’t need this, and parents, communities, teaching staff and governors don’t want it forced on them.

What we should concentrate on is the quality of education and a school’s ability to deliver the best results for children.

This is the key to tackling poor performance – not the ill-conceived, unproven decision of academies for all.


— Conservative Councillor Patricia Anne Bradwell is the deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council and sits in the Billinghay and Metheringham division. Patricia is the Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Health Services as well as for Children’s Services.

Conservative Councillor Mrs Patricia Anne Bradwell is the deputy leader of Lincolnshire County Council and sits in the Billinghay and Metheringham division. Patricia is the Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Health Services as well as for Children's Services.