Category: CT blog


Money Can’t Buy Me Care

Posted on July 24th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Every so often someone writing a speech or press release trots out the tired old trope about “older people receiving the care they deserve”.

As a piece of patronising drivel it’s hard to beat. Nobody “deserves” good care; it’s not something one receives as a reward for meritorious conduct, you don’t get good care in recognition of your past contribution to society. Older people get good care because they need it. End of story.

Well, not quite; even if we accept the word ‘care’ as shorthand for ‘care services’, the situation doesn’t change. The reality of limited resources means that care services are rationed, but on the dual bases of means and need, not ‘deservability’.

Having pots of money might guarantee you good care services but not necessarily good care. Otherwise there’d be no need for CQC to inspect … Read More »


Building true communities

Posted on July 17th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 6 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Nightingale House, a care home in South London, is soon to include a children’s nursery on the same site; the first example in the UK, so far as I am aware, of this kind of co-provision.

While there will always be some who will seek the sense of protection and security afforded by gated communities and the like, I think a true sense of community can only come from a mix of age groups, all of whom see a particular group of buildings and open spaces as being very much a ‘shared turf’ where the generations can engage with each other and all enjoy richer lives as a consequence.

There will always be limitations on how truly a ‘home’ a care home can be but, by integrating a care home with its surrounding social environment, I think that … Read More »


Telling it like it is

Posted on July 10th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

With accustomed dismay I monitored the media’s response to the Care Quality Commission’s recently published ‘State of Social Care’ report.

Unlike the media response, the report itself was neither unreasonable nor alarmist but very few people will take the trouble to read it, misguidedly relying on newspaper, TV and radio reports to render an accurate and unweighted account.

It was ever thus and there is little, it seems, that the sector can do other than grimace and bear it. But what annoys me most is that, in their never-ending pursuit of a bad news story, the national media cause a lot of unwarranted anxiety and distress to older people and their families.

Most of us perceive the news of the day through the filters of our own experience, judgment and prejudices, but the mental frailty which accompanies old … Read More »


The man who cried ‘Fire!’

Posted on July 3rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 4 comments

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

On 27 June, David Behan, the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission wrote to all providers of care homes in England on the issue of fire safety. He was motivated of course by the Grenfell Tower disaster which has occurred a fortnight earlier. Makes sense?

No, actually it doesn’t make sense. It is difficult to believe that anyone who ever looks at television, listens to the radio, reads a newspaper, talks to friends, or relates to any social media is not aware of and has not been deeply moved by the horror of the North Kensington fire. And is it possible that anyone who lives in, has relatives who live in, or has responsibility for a sizeable building has not asked themselves whether those premises might be vulnerable to a fate similar to that which overtook … Read More »


Betrayers of self-funders’ trust?

Posted on June 26th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 4 comments

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

That loud clucking noise you can hear is the sound of chickens coming home to roost. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has turned over a rock and found a mess of repellant practices that should have the care home sector hanging its collective head in shame. But the day of reckoning could be nigh.

Not least for providers that exploit self-funders – robbing Peter to pay for Paul, while keeping Peter in the dark, is just one example. If, like me, you have come across pathetic attempts to justify “cross-subsidies” by citing differential pricing for airline seats and hotel rooms, you too may have wondered how holiday jaunts can be compared with once in a lifetime decisions, typically taken at a time of crisis.

While the sector frets about the detrimental effects of unfavourable quality ratings, it … Read More »


Crisis, what crisis?

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

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

The news that there has been a drop in the numbers of nurses from the European Union registering to work in Britain caused consternation in mid-June when the Health Foundation published comparative figures for July 2016 and April 2017. On reflection though, there are three words in that sentence which need qualification – ‘news’, ‘drop’ and ‘consternation’.

Is this statistic really ‘news’, in the sense of being information which we didn’t have before, which is unexpected, which comes across as new? In reality it hardly fits any of those criteria. The UK has long depended on recruitment from overseas to make up for the shortfall of British candidates for the nursing profession, and since 2008 the majority of international nurses registering in the UK have come from other EU countries. So no-one should really be surprised that … Read More »


No more fudges please

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

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A few blogs ago I opined that social care would not figure as a key issue in the general election. Well, I was wrong, but who could have predicted that the Tories would be so ill-advised as to make it part of their manifesto in such a cack-handed way?

Still, it was right up there alongside Brexit and the NHS, and that’s good news for the sector as social care will not now be easily relegated to its former corner of the ‘issues to dodge’ box. As the sun sets on the current administration, perhaps we should be grateful that, in proposing a £100k asset threshold while at the same time extending the means test to include homecare, and then hurriedly tacking-on an unspecified cap to an individual’s liability, future governments have been given a pretty clear … Read More »


All change – for more of the same

Posted on June 5th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on All change – for more of the same

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

On Thursday this period of political and economic instability, called into being by the current government in a moment of weakness, will draw to a close as some of us trot off to our polling stations. Then our votes will be totted-up to determine which mainstream minority gets to drive the bus for the next few years.

Whatever the election result, there doesn’t appear to be much optimism in the social care sphere: regulation shows no sign of being reined-in and manifesto pledges on funding amount to little more than well-hedged promises of some action at some point, and even if positive steps were taken to train more nurses it’s pretty clear there will be no short term fix to the problem of recruitment.

Meanwhile the sector continues to haemorrhage beds. Last week Radio 4’s Eddie Mair interviewed … Read More »


Any takers for ‘Carebnb’?

Posted on May 30th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Any takers for ‘Carebnb’?

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

When I was a lad in North Yorkshire in the 1960s, social care was much more of a cottage industry than it is now. Several of my playmates had their granny or grandad being looked after in their front room on a day bed.

Doesn’t happen much nowadays, partly because people are living to such an age that it would be great granny or great grandad on the day bed, with four generations making up the household – you’d need a very big house.

But so many cottage industries have gone; no one spins or weaves for piece rates any more, and we don’t hear of people handmaking flights for arrows or whittling gads for roof thatching. But small-scale enterprise still thrives, new cottage industries have evolved, especially in hospitality and catering, viz. Airbnb, ‘pop-up’ restaurants, coffee-shops … Read More »


An upgraded Better Care Fund: game changing or game playing?

Posted on May 22nd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on An upgraded Better Care Fund: game changing or game playing?

By Guest Blogger BOB FERGUSON

You’ll have heard few cheers for the Better Care Fund (BCF), the bright idea intended to nudge the NHS and local authorities into each other’s arms – mostly, it should be added, for the benefit of the former. Although it may have set hearts aflutter at the time, it hasn’t actually produced a match made in heaven.

The fragile nature of the relationship has never been better illustrated than in one hospital’s attempt to combat delayed discharges. It mounted a predatory raid on capacity normally contracted by the local authority for ongoing care, securing beds for step-down purposes by the simple expedient of overpaying. Its comeuppance for this aggressive procurement came subsequently when residents were stranded by the resultant reduction in council-funded accommodation for long-term usage.

A failure to consider, let alone consult on, expanding capacity sparked a … Read More »



Latest blog posts

Money Can’t Buy Me Care

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Every so often someone writing a speech or press release trots out the tired old trope about “older people receiving...

Building true communities

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Nightingale House, a care home in South London, is soon to include a children’s nursery on the same site; the...

Telling it like it is

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

With accustomed dismay I monitored the media’s response to the Care Quality Commission’s recently published ‘State of Social Care’...