Today is World Social Work Day

David Glover, Head of Social Work, discusses his role

David Glover

"I am the Head of Social Work at King's. My job involves overseeing the Trust's social work function and also supporting the Trust with its relations with external social work stakeholders in the form of child and adult social care teams across London and beyond.

"We have provided a series of short discussions on social work and World Social Day 2021 that will be available on Kingsweb this week (week commencing 15 March). Please do take a moment to review these and get in touch if you have any questions or want to learn more about social work.

"I thought it might be helpful to just talk through a little bit about our structure at King’s – I’m really proud of the resource we’ve built up, our social work team consists of 26 qualified social workers and we provide support to services ranging from paediatric liver to adult neuro-rehabilitation. I think one of the best things about the work that we do is that we’re able to provide our knowledge, skills and values to a broad range of clinical specialities and work alongside outstanding individuals whom we are proud to call our colleagues. We offer a unique perspective to the traditional MDT make up and try and ensure that teams consider a broader range of factors that influence health and wellbeing, such as environmental, economic, social and cultural. Our passion is people and we concern ourselves with individuals, families, groups, communities and society as a whole, ranging from prenatal support to care of the older person.

"No working day is ever the same in social work. We aim to improve people’s lives by helping with social and interpersonal difficulties, promoting human rights and wellbeing. We protect children and adults with support needs from harm. Our work can involve keeping a family under pressure together to supporting someone with serious mental health problems.

"The last year has presented with challenges not unique to our profession, we have needed to adapt and rise to these. We decided to position ourselves aligned to the work streams associated with supporting families, many of our staff have taken responsibilities to liaise with families experiencing distress attributed to the pandemic. For every person in a hospital bed, there is likely a family member or friend whom has a need for reassurance, guidance, practical or emotional support. We continue to provide a universal family liaison service across both sites that is available to support any person connected to a patient at King’s whom is presenting as a cause for concern.

"World Social Work Day is a celebration of social work that takes place across the world with social workers celebrating and promoting the contributions of our profession to individuals, families, communities and wider society. The day aims to highlight the achievements and importance of social work as a profession, raise the visibility of social work within the workplace and to get people talking about social justice and human rights.

"Two years ago I presented in the boardroom at Denmark Hill on the previous theme ‘Promoting the importance of human relationships’, we spoke to colleagues about how everyone has a role to play in exploring the social context of our patients and why we should show interest in a person’s story. It remains my belief that by understanding a person and their systems we can improve the standards and quality of care provided by our Trust.

"This year, the World Social Work Day highlights Ubuntu: I am because we are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness. Ubuntu has its roots in humanist African philosophy, where the idea of community is one of the building blocks of society. Ubuntu is that nebulous concept of common humanity. This resonates with the social Work perspective of the interconnectedness of all peoples and their environments.

"Lastly, we are delighted to share that our profession now has its own dedicated regulator that is responsible for social work training and professional standards. Social Work England has been and visited us at King’s and we are excited about their role in shaping social work practice for the future."