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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Social Work Down Under and Up Over: Hospital social work in the UK and Australia

Burrows, Daniel and Phillips, Carrie (2022) Social Work Down Under and Up Over: Hospital social work in the UK and Australia. In: JSWEC 2022, 23 - 24 June 2022, Leeds Beckett University.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)


In the UK and many other industrialised countries, hospital social work is most associated with discharge planning for older people with complex care needs. Discharge planning is fast-paced and high-pressured work that calls upon social workers to advocate for patients and family members with clinical colleagues and to draw upon a wide range of knowledge and skills to achieve the best outcomes. Despite the importance and complexity of the work, however, it remains an under-researched specialism. Over the past year, we have developed a network of researchers in the UK and Australia who have an interest in researching hospital social work practice. In this paper, we highlight cultural similarities between the UK and Australia, including the impact of neoliberal welfare policies on expectations of the social work role in hospitals, the disparity between medical power and social work values and the challenges of responding to increasing demand for services as the ageing population grows. We also note, however, the potential benefits of the enhanced opportunities for research in Australian hospital social work. We suggest that practitioner research offers the opportunity to improve the credibility of social work within multidisciplinary teams, thereby strengthening social work’s voice. We suggest that social work can reclaim a role in hospitals beyond reactive responses to immediate discharge needs and that social workers’ knowledge and skills can be employed in helping people to live better with chronic illnesses and in ensuring that clinicians understand and take fuller account of the social dimensions of their patients’ conditions.

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Draft presentation Dan and Carrie.pptx - Presentation

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More Information

Depositing User: Carrie Phillips


Item ID: 14927

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Daniel Burrows: ORCID iD
ORCID for Carrie Phillips: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2022 13:50
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2022 13:50


Author: Daniel Burrows ORCID iD
Author: Carrie Phillips ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Health and Social Care

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