The Dutch Ministry of Health has announced extensive reorganization of the care system. Just like in many other Western countries with ageing populations, the welfare state is subject to major reforms. In parallel with academic debates, the idea of co-producing and self-organizing public services seems to have penetrated the discourse of politicians and governors all over the world. Politicians state that in order to keep care provision affordable, accessible and in line with societal demands, responsibilities should be shifted ‘back’ to society. Through volunteering, citizens are expected to shoulder tasks formerly performed by the state, either by partnering and co-production with the state or by self-organization. Our systematic content analysis shows that citizens are now generally framed as active service producers which are, and should be, part of the general system of care service delivery. This activation of citizens has considerable implications for the roles, competences and responsibilities of care professionals. In fact, government is calling for a new public service ethos of professionals, see our recent article in Policy and Politics. Continue reading →
by Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Professor of Sociology and Research Director of the Centre for Globalisation and Governance, University of Hamburg, and Professor for Comparative Welfare State Research, Dept. of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Southern Denmark
New welfare state policies for family care work
In the ‘housewife marriage’––the dominant form of the family in most mid-20th century European societies––senior care was mainly organised as unpaid work in the private family household, and was the wife’s duty. Since the 1990s most welfare states have strengthened the attendant social rights and infrastructure to the advantage of senior citizen care provision. As a consequence of this welfare state change, informal, unpaid work in the private sphere of the family has, in part, been transformed into formal, paid care work in the formal employment system outside the family. Several studies have analysed this change in a cross-national perspective (see Pavolini & Ranci, 2008).
It is often overlooked that many welfare states have also extended caring family members’ social rights and support (Ungerson, 2004). They have also introduced new hybrid forms of care work in family care that share some of the main features Continue reading →
Jonathan Wistow, Lena Dominelli, Katie Oven, Christine Dunn, and Sarah Curtis, from Durham University, discuss their latest article from EPSRC-funded research, “The role of formal and informal networks in supporting older people’s care during extreme weather events”. This article is now available on fast track.
Climate change and demographic projections point, respectively, to more frequent occurrences of extreme weather and an ageing population. Taken together these provide new dynamics to which health and social care systems need to respond. Firstly, demographic change will lead to a growth in the population group that relies most on services within health and social care systems. Secondly, the increased frequency of extreme weather events can have serious effects on the services, buildings, communication routes and utilities that are important for health and social care of older people.