Category: CT blog


Sutherland: remember him?

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

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

Half a century ago I had a series of wonderfully happy working holidays in Sutherland, that most beautiful part of north-west Scotland. The name always brings back memories, so when I spotted the obituary of Lord Sutherland of Roundwood who died in late February, even though I didn’t recognise the name, I started reading just for nostalgia.

I soon realised, however, that this sadly missed peer was known to me by his pre-ennoblement title of Sir Stuart Sutherland. Now, does that ring bells? It should do, since 20 years ago Sir Stuart was appointed to head a Royal Commission on the funding of long term care.

The commission met the requirement of the government of the day to report within a year, but neither this almost unprecedented speed for the consideration of such a complicated issue, nor the report’s … Read More »


Postponing the inevitable

Posted on April 9th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

In expressing their pleasure at being allocated an extra £40m in funding, Dementia Research UK makes the startling claim that dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK.

Well it startled me. On about two-thirds of the death certificates issued for people with dementia who have died, the cause of death is ascribed as pneumonia so what we have here is the conundrum of causality and co-morbidity that commonly confronts doctors. I think that the most that can be said is that dementia is an increasingly common condition contributing to mortality.

But hey, massaged facts and grant funding are the best of bedfellows. The extra £40m is certainly good news for Dementia Research UK, and for all of us; I think everyone is personally disturbed by the thought of developing dementia. Dementia Research UK chief … Read More »


Vive la différence!

Posted on April 3rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I confess that for much of the two decades of my involvement in the sector I have accepted the received wisdom that health care and social care integration is a goal worthy of pursuit, but I’m beginning to wonder if, rather than being a panacea of holy grail qualities, it may instead be a chimera which would turn and bite us.

The ever-burgeoning fiscal demands of healthcare are likely to perpetuate the relegation of social care to the role of poor relation, despite strong arguments that well-resourced social care could substantially reduce the burden on acute healthcare. I fear the reality is that healthcare demand will always grow to fill and exceed capacity.

And the two are chalk and cheese, with very different skills sets involved. Certainly there are common elements and interdependencies, just as there are with … Read More »


Hope and goodwill can only hold for so long

Posted on March 26th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger ALAN LONG, Mears Group executive director

I welcomed the news last week that more than one million NHS workers will be receiving pay rises over the next three years. Less welcome, however, is the warning issued by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that the UK government’s plans for local authority funding could leave adult social care inadequately and inconsistently funded.

I have long campaigned for better pay and conditions for people working in the care sector. I want to see greater parity between NHS staff and care workers who are increasingly providing specialist services as more and more elderly and vulnerable people are being cared for in their own homes rather than in nursing homes or hospitals. My fear is that giving the deserving people in the NHS more money, will lead to more people simply leaving care roles, unless they are … Read More »


New liberty rules – a breath of fresh air?

Posted on March 19th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Good news that the Government intends to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with a system to be called ‘Liberty Protection Safeguards’ (LiPS).

It’s certainly a better title, focusing attention on the protection aspect rather than on deprivation and we are told the new rules will be less complex. But it’s early days and the proposals are going to be put out for consultation prior to any legislative changes. I am sure the lawyers will apprise us of the implications for social care providers and local authorities but we have to hope that the bureaucratic burden will be somewhat lightened without opening any avenues for potential abuse.

I wonder if there will be any impact on my obsession about open windows; I have always slept with my bedroom window wide open as I enjoy the night air. … Read More »


Now where did I put those spectacles?

Posted on March 12th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week, guest blogger John Burton touched on the management of dentures in care homes and used an extended toothy metaphor in a trenchant criticism of the regulatory regime. I thought I’d borrow the trick.

British bulldog-like, the Government has its teeth locked firmly into negotiations with Brussels and no amount of cudgelling seems likely to make it let go and take its other responsibilities more seriously.

Indentured as it is to the Brexit referendum, the Government may now be patting its pockets in search of its many pairs of spectacles. The foreign secretary has purloined the rose-tinted pair (apart from anything else they look well beneath his golden mop) and the NHS-issue set, meant to improve far-sightedness never seemed to work properly.

Like an aged recipient of social care, this government is becoming presbyopic and is ever more … Read More »


Missing teeth

Posted on March 5th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Missing teeth

By guest blogger JOHN BURTON

I know it’s an obsessional bad habit, but I watch the CQC Public Board Meetings every month. I believe that I can tell a lot about what’s going on beneath the surface in our English social care regulator by watching – and listening to – the top team at work. Often it’s what’s not said and the body language that tells the tale.

But then, I think that I can find out much of what’s really happening in a care home by attending a handover. Again, it’s more what’s not said and who is absent that give me clues to follow up.

The recording of the February board meeting wasn’t made available to the public until nearly a week after it took place. Usually it’s on the website the next day. I asked them for an explanation . … Read More »


Continuing concern over continuing care

Posted on February 26th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

The funding system known as NHS Continuing Care has long constituted a scandal, of which perhaps the worst element is that so few people, including potential beneficiaries, are even aware of its existence.

Theoretically, Continuing Care looks after all of the costs of care for those individuals who, despite serious long term illness or disability, can effectively live outside hospital. That means in either in a residential care setting – generally one with in-house nursing – or in their own homes with intensive domiciliary care and community nursing services.

The multi-aspect scandal, outlined in January in a scathing report from the usually sober Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, involves long delays in decision-taking by Clinical Commissioning Groups – many people die before getting the results of their applications – variations in local interpretation of the assessment criteria, the poor … Read More »


Inconstant gardeners

Posted on February 18th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Inconstant gardeners

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last Saturday was fine and dry so I managed to put in a few hours on our allotment. Not before time; my dug-over fallow patches are already showing a patina of green as the first weeds awaken from their winter sleep.

With secateurs in leather-gloved hand I contemplated the prickly thicket that I hoped to reform into a well-groomed row of gooseberry bushes and that got me thinking about the Green Paper consultation promised for this coming summer, and the thorny issue of social care funding.

“Well, I wouldn’t start from here if I had the choice,” thought I, thinking about the reform of both gooseberries and government policy. This was followed by “we are where we are” and so to the snipping. I think it is important that those who are closely involved with the provision … Read More »


When the chips go down . . .

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

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I have heard people say they couldn’t get by without their smartphone, and I suppose this must be true in that many people depend on them as part of their livelihoods.

But it is a bit scary how dependent we have become on information technology and we should never underestimate how all-pervasive IT can become. (A mayor of Chicago did just that in the late 1800s when he predicted that one day, there would be a telephone in every American town!).

And so on to the role of IT in social care. It’s essential of course, but is there a danger of over-dependency? What happens when systems fall prey to cyber attacks a la ‘Wannacry’? All sorts of prosaic utilities might be compromised – security, fire safety, even gas, electricity and water supplies could go down.

A … Read More »



Latest blog posts

Sutherland: remember him?

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

Half a century ago I had a series of wonderfully happy working holidays in Sutherland, that most beautiful part of north-west...

Postponing the inevitable

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

In expressing their pleasure at being allocated an extra £40m in funding, Dementia Research UK makes the startling claim that...

Vive la différence!

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I confess that for much of the two decades of my involvement in the sector I have accepted the received...