Caring Times News


Jump in care home insolvencies

Posted on April 25th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Jump in care home insolvencies

The number of care home businesses falling into insolvency has jumped by 18%, with 47 care home operators in England and Wales becoming insolvent last year, up from 40 in the previous year, says accountancy firm Moore Stephens.

Research by the firm also shows that the number of care home businesses becoming insolvent has risen by 34% over three years, when there were 35 insolvencies in 2012/13.

Mike Finch, partner at Moore Stephens, said local authority spending on care homes continued to fall, with estimates suggesting that there would be a £2.9bn annual funding gap in social care by the end of the decade.

“The Government’s introduction of a mandatory national living wage from April 2016 is set to further increase pressure on the care homes sector as staff costs will rise,” said Mr Finch.

“Care homes have come under increasing financial strain and, … Read More »


Sector saddened by Annie Sinnott’s sudden passing

Posted on April 19th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Sector saddened by Annie Sinnott’s sudden passing

Annie Sinnott MBE, owner of the Old Vicarage care home in Leigh, Dorset and one of the care sector’s leading lights, sadly died after a very short illness on Sunday, April 17th.

Annie and her staff at the Old Vicarage have won many awards for the excellence of their care and not least for Annie’s long commitment to staff development and training. The Old Vicarage is one of the very few care homes to have been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

Annie’s passing is a sad loss to the care sector and everyone at Caring Times gives their sincere condolences to Annie’s husband Ian and their family.


‘So much for consultation’ say providers in the wake of CQC fee increase

Posted on April 8th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on ‘So much for consultation’ say providers in the wake of CQC fee increase

Care providers have expressed their displeasure at the Care Quality Commission’s recently announced fee increases. Speaking on behalf of nursing homes across the country, the Registered Nursing Home association (RNHA) has expressed its bitter disappointment that the Care Quality Commission is putting up the fees it charges them to be part of the regulated care market.

RNHA chief executive Frank Ursell said the CQC had run a consultation to ask whether it was preferred for a fee increase to be phase- in over two or four years – pain sooner rather than later or pain a bit more spread out.

“We opted for the latter,” said Mr Ursell. “Instead, the CQC has ignored what we said and imposed a hefty increase straight away. So much for consultation.

“To make matters worse, the increase we are having to absorb from the CQC is far … Read More »


CQC should consider camera surveillance as a regulatory tool, says Philip Scott

Posted on April 4th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on CQC should consider camera surveillance as a regulatory tool, says Philip Scott

By using camera technology to monitor care practices in care homes, the Care Quality Commission could continue to do its job effectively while remaining within tightening budget constraints, according to Philip Scott, the managing director of Care Protect, a company which operates a commercial camera surveillance system designed for use in care homes.

In response to reductions in its budget from £249m this financial year to £217m in 2019/20 the CQC has said it plans to inspect adult social care services less often and concentrate on those perceived to be at greatest risk, using quantitative and qualitative information held on providers to spot potential risks more effectively.

Mr Scott says camera surveillance technology should be used by the CQC to trigger an inspection as opposed to visiting a home or hospital simply because it is time to do so. If technology was … Read More »


Social care leader slams ‘institutional prejudice’

Posted on March 31st, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Social care leader slams ‘institutional prejudice’

Care Forum Wales chair Mario Kreft has hit out against what he calls the ‘institutional prejudice’ towards private companies providing services for vulnerable people.

Speaking at a meeting of the Five Nations group, which represents social care providers from the four home countries and Eire, Mr Kreft said outdated attitudes were blighting the sector at a time when the need for collaboration and partnership had never been greater.

“Unfortunately, there is a significant degree of unfair institutional prejudice against the independent sector here in Wales and elsewhere in the UK and Ireland,” said Mr Kreft.

“There are still many people who appear to resent the fact that independent providers need to be financially viable to stay in business and provide high quality services. I was talking to a nurse recently who left the NHS and joined a very reputable private sector organisation and … Read More »


Care homes use online nutrition service in Northern Ireland

Posted on March 29th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Care homes use online nutrition service in Northern Ireland

A health and social care trust in Northern Ireland has commissioned a digital nutrition monitoring and advice service now being used by 14 care homes in the province.

The service, Health Call, has been commissioned by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland is said to allow a closer collaboration across the NHS and care homes through a secure web-based portal. Undernourished residents are closely monitored every one to two weeks by care home staff, who input the patient’s weight, appetite, and compliance to oral nutritional supplements (ONS) onto an online portal.

If any of the patient’s data falls outside of their pre-set personal parameters, a member of the dietetic team is alerted and will contact the care home to provide dietary advice. Previously the dietitian visited every patient every six weeks.

“The automated system offers great support to the … Read More »


Dementia project seeks to encourage communities to work with care homes

Posted on March 8th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Dementia project seeks to encourage communities to work with care homes

A project to mobilise businesses, organisations, voluntary groups and individuals to help improve the lives of people with dementia living in local care homes across Yorkshire and East Lancashire has received more than £100,000 from a brand new three-year support programme launched by NHS England, “Health As A Social Movement”.

The pilot project aims to develop the way existing home-grown skills and support across communities can be harnessed to improve dementia care. It forms an extra dimension to the work being carried out by the Airedale and Partners vanguard. The area was selected by NHS England last summer to research new ways of working to transform the care, and end-of-life care, for more than 7,600 residents in 248 residential and nursing homes.

The Airedale and Partners vanguard – which pools the expertise of the NHS, local authorities, care homes, technology experts, the … Read More »


RPS report says having pharmacists in care homes could save the NHS £135m per year

Posted on February 25th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on RPS report says having pharmacists in care homes could save the NHS £135m per year

The NHS could save £135m a year through the widespread introduction of a pharmacist into every care home across Great Britain according to a new report by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). ‘The Right Medicine – Improving Care in Care Homes’ report concludes that pharmacist-led medicine reviews in care homes can not only improve safety for elderly care home residents but also save the NHS money by preventing avoidable hospital admissions.

In response to the report’s findings, the RPS, Alzheimer’s Society, The Patients Association and Care England, have called for a pharmacist, as part of the healthcare team, to take charge of the whole system of medicines and their use within a care home to improve patient care, reduce the waste of NHS medicines and prevent the serious harm that can be caused by inappropriate medicines use in elderly residents.

Sandra Gidley, … Read More »


Adult social services: number of adult social care staff employed by councils shrinks by a quarter since 2011

Posted on February 11th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Adult social services: number of adult social care staff employed by councils shrinks by a quarter since 2011

The total number of council-based adult social services staff has decreased by 25% over the last five years, according to figures published in early February by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

A report summarising workforce trends shows that the number of council-based adult social services jobs has fallen from 159,4003 in 20114, the first year of comparable data, to 120,200 in 2015. This represents a reduction of 39,200 jobs over the period.

Focusing specifically on movement between 2014 and 2015, the number adult social care jobs in councils decreased by 8% (9,900 jobs) from 130,100 reported in 2014. This is also the fourth consecutive reduction to the number of jobs of around 10,000 per year since 2011. ‘Personal Social Services: Staff of Social Services Departments, England, as at September 2015’ looks at social services employees directly employed by local … Read More »


Ombudsman says councils must offer affordable care home placement options

Posted on February 1st, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Ombudsman says councils must offer affordable care home placement options

When arranging care, councils must offer families the option of a nursing or care home placement which does not need a top-up fee, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has said, following an investigation into Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

The investigation involved a Solihull family who paid a top-up fee for three years for their father’s care. The family should not have been asked to pay this additional fee.

The LGO said the case was another example of people across the country being given insufficient information to be able to make informed choices about their care – a problem which the LGO continues to see and which it highlighted in a Focus Report in September 2015.

In the Solihull investigation, a man went into a nursing home temporarily in September 2007. Before he moved into the home, the council contacted 13 nursing homes on … Read More »





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