Category: Caring Times


No more ‘no comment’

Posted on January 16th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

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 »


Doubts raised about online Power of Attorneys

Posted on January 12th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT Extra. Comments Off on Doubts raised about online Power of Attorneys

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 »


Funding favours Tory constituencies, says GMB

Posted on January 10th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Funding favours Tory constituencies, says GMB

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 »


The silly side of innovation

Posted on January 9th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

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 »


The elephant in the system

Posted on January 2nd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on The elephant in the system

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 »


Thanks for caring at Christmas

Posted on December 20th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Thanks for caring at Christmas

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 »


Cheap debt drives heated market in US and Europe

Posted on December 19th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Cheap debt drives heated market in US and Europe

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 »


Fair shares for all

Posted on December 19th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Fair shares for all

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 »


Paperwork and professionalism

Posted on December 12th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

Last Wednesday I attended a training session for senior care workers whose care homes were working towards Gold Standards Framework (GSF) accreditation for end of life care. This particular module – the fourth in a series of five – focused on meeting a resident’s spiritual needs and supporting a resident’s family and friends.

What struck me was the professionalism of those attending – they weren’t managers but senior carers appointed by their homes to motivate and lead their colleagues towards accreditation. These people do the care sector proud; they responded to the course facilitators and were clearly engaged with the accreditation process. I sensed their commitment to their work and the human compassion they brought to it. These people will become the care home managers of tomorrow and it bodes well.

I was equally struck by the … Read More »


Cross-subsidy – the unfairest practice

Posted on December 5th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Cross-subsidy – the unfairest practice

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

Last week the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a market study into care homes for elderly people. It is going to look into reports of potentially unfair practices and contract terms being used by some care homes and evaluate the effectiveness of competition between care homes in driving quality and value for money for residents and taxpayers. It will also consider how local authorities and other public bodies purchase and assign care home places, and how they encourage and shape local supply.

This is an opportunity for providers to acknowledge, and then step back from, the unfair practise of charging self-funding residents over the odds to subsidise the inadequate fees paid by local authorities for publicly funded residents.

Not only do self-funders pay for their own care, but have throughout their working lives, through their … Read More »



Latest blog posts

No more ‘no comment’

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

I read a column recently – in the Racing Post, if you must know – in which the writer lamented:...

The silly side of innovation

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...

The elephant in the system

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...