Caring Times News
Caring Times, January 2017
The number of councils providing meals on wheels to vulnerable older people has dropped below 50% for the first time.
Research for the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) shows that just 48% of authorities provide a service compared with 66% only two years ago.
The NACC says under-investment is putting elderly people at risk and will place unnecessary pressure on the NHS because meals services help prevent hospital admissions and extend the time residents can live at home.
NICE (the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) has previously identified better nutritional care as the third largest source of cost savings to the NHS.
The study, carried out by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) on behalf of NACC showed:
• The North West of England is doing the least with only 17% of authorities providing a meals on wheels … Read More »
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
Hats off to Surrey Council for announcing a planned 15% uplift in council tax to maintain social care at humane levels.
Despite having pruned its annual budget by £450m the council says it needs the double-digit hike in council tax to meet its statutory obligations to frail elderly people, those with learning disabilities and children with special needs, the demand for which is increasing every year.
Because the increase exceeds, by a considerable margin, the cap on council tax set by central government, the council is required to put the proposal before its citizens by means of a referendum. What will the good citizens of Surrey say? It’s my bet they’ll say no, giving the tacit but clear message that they see social care as being primarily the responsibility of national government, with local government simply being … Read More »
By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON
I read a column recently – in the Racing Post, if you must know – in which the writer lamented: “as time and columns pass it gets increasingly difficult to remember what you’ve written before.” As you may have noticed, bloggers can be similarly afflicted. Cut from the same cloth as columnists, they too have a tendency to blather on (and on) about what they have written so often before.
They tend to be driven by the assumption that the subject of their fixation – yes, it can be a single one! – Is equally all-consuming for their readers. It fuels a need to share an unshakeable conviction that they, and they alone, hold the key. “Blinkered” doesn’t come close. But then that is the nature of the beast; making a worthwhile contribution is not really what … Read More »
Caring Times, January 2017
Organisations representing and providing services for older and vulnerable people have jointly raised concerns around the Government’s online tool for creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).
An LPA is a powerful legal document which allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about care and finances on their behalf, in the event of a loss of mental capacity through an accident or illness such as dementia.
In May 2014, the Government’s Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) launched its online LPA tool, which it claims allows people to create the documents without the need for professional advice from a solicitor.
But a new report, published by a coalition of organisations led by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), warns that anyone creating an LPA without taking specialist legal advice faces a significantly higher risk of being left with … Read More »
Caring Times, January 2017
Some of the most deprived areas of the UK face ‘outrageous’ social care cuts while leafy Tory strongholds are getting millions of pounds shovelled into their coffers, according to the GMB union.
Figures released by the union show the ten wealthiest parts of the country have seen their spending increase by £135m since 2010. GMB says the poorest parts of the UK have had their social care budget has been slashed by £145m while the constituencies of David Cameron and Theresa May have been given a huge cash boost. Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire’s spending has rocketed by more than £40m each while during the same period the ten poorest regions’ budget has reduced by £135m.
Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham, which cover the Prime Minister’s constituency, have had a budget increase of almost £10m between them and the biggest spending … Read More »
By guest blogger JEF SMITH
At the first session of a conference at the King’s Fund I was listening to a senior civil servant from NHS England speaking about empowering service users. As her talk progressed, I became increasingly irritated by the strident, at times almost violent, tone of some of the words she was using.
“Transformation” was the least of it. We need, she said, “a massive system shift”. What we must aim for is “cultural change at pace and at scale”. There was more, much more, in similar vein. If you had followed her advice you would stop doing practically everything you have done up to now, humbly repent your sins, and start all over again in a completely different direction. The mood was revolutionary, the message no less than a call to arms.
When the time came for questions, I … Read More »
By guest blogger JOHN BURTON
Amidst the – fully justified – fuss about the underfunding of social care, there’s a galumphing great rogue elephant that sucks the variety and spice of life out of care, and it has to be fed huge quantities of paperwork to prevent it from stamping on you.
This elephant is very expensive to keep, and, as you know, it’s a white elephant. It’s slow and ponderous but it’s grown too big and too powerful to control. Most of its keepers regret the day they allowed the baby pachyderm, so cute and decorative at the time, into the system in the first place.
Now that it is big, it completely dominates the care system that revolves around it. If we had had the foresight and courage to stand together and refuse entry to this behemoth, and to insist that we … Read More »
A national care group campaigning to highlight the caring heroes of the sector is extending a special thank you to those working at Christmas.
The ‘spare a thought’ message comes from the Springhill Care Group to employees throughout the industry working through Christmas.
Donna Briggs, managing director of Springhill Care Group, said that, while most of us will be enjoying time with our family, many would be working in some form of capacity to ensure the care they offer is uninterrupted and that those most vulnerable are looked after and can enjoy this time themselves
“As part of our Caring Heroes campaign, we want to change the culture in the care industry to make those working in it proud of the good work they do throughout the year,” said Donna.
The care group operates a range of activities on behalf of employees including healthy … Read More »
Transaction activity is booming in the elderly residential care market across North America and Western Europe, according to financial consultants Clearwater International, who say the activity is driven by the availability of cheap debt, an increasingly ageing population, rising demand for specialist care for conditions such as dementia, and reablement care.
In the United States in November, Second Spring Healthcare Investments acquired a portfolio of 64 skilled nursing facilities from Welltower Inc., the listed US real estate investment trust, for €990m. AIM Group Holding Limited bought a portfolio of three senior living communities in areas surrounding Washington D.C. and Atlanta, for €104m and SHA Housing Limited purchased a €30m portfolio of supported living assets from Topland Group.
In Europe, Clearwater has advised Colisée Group on the acquisitions of elderly home care providers Bien à la Maison and Nouvel Horizon Services. They have … Read More »
By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON
So now we know: Whitehall’s Christmas gift to local authorities is another poisoned chalice, concocted to drag adult care services back from the brink. This latest bid to pick the lock of the social care “crisis” is a here-today-gone-tomorrow tweak in the council tax precept that will fall disproportionately on those least able to pay. Here’s hoping councils will insist providers respond in kind. It will only take an extra quid: a quid pro quo, that is.
In the name of fairness, top up amounts – and in homes with mixed sources of income, cross-subsidies from self-funders – should be reduced to match whatever price increases, however modest, actually emerge from a threadbare, short-term fix. And, please, no weasel-worded attempts to wriggle out of it.
With the Care Act yet to be implemented in full, councils will only … Read More »