Category: CT blog


Not the retiring sort

Posted on February 20th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

 

In the unlikely event of the queen’s ever asking me, “And what do you do?”, I will have a problem; I can’t bring myself to use the word “retired”.

Retirement reeks of the now largely discredited disengagement theory, which argued that ageing was an inevitable, mutual withdrawal leading to decreasing interaction with others. That’s not at all how I feel. I used to make a joke of it by saying I was ‘re-tyred’, my engine refurbished, ready to fire on all cylinders, but it came to sound a bit forced. These days I tend to fall back on, “I’ve stopped full time work”, but that defines me by what I used to do, not what I am. “Pensioner” is of course even worse; surely I’m more than simply a recipient of unearned income. But what are … Read More »


It’s time for people power

Posted on February 13th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on It’s time for people power

 

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

It has been revealed that many people who have successfully negotiated the labyrinthine application process for NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) now find their wish to be cared for at home counting for nothing as CCGs limit funding for delivery in domestic settings.

The outrage that greeted the disclosure suggests the move has come as a surprise. Really? Disturbing it is, new it is not; this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Where I live, councils and health authorities got together in the early noughties to create, with Whitehall’s blessing, what is still a unique development: 500 beds worth of council-operated nursing homes. No sooner were they up and running than the erstwhile allies were at each other’s throats, arguing about eligibility assessments for CHC, each determined on budget protection. Without a national health and social … Read More »


Meeting responsibilities

Posted on February 6th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Junior health minister David Mowat, the one who drew the social care straw, had a go at talking himself out of a job last week.

Speaking to the House of Commons’ select committee on Communities and Local Government, Mr Mowat opined that people must consider looking after their parents, just as they do their children.

If Mr Mowat were at all familiar with his portfolio he would know that most people are trying their level best to do this already. So often, it is only when the care burden becomes so great and so unremitting that the carers, often in their 60s and 70s themselves, find their own physical and mental health so compromised that in desperation they resort to outside agencies.

Now Mr Mowat didn’t suggest that grandchildren should step up to the mark, but from remarks, such … Read More »


Care workers should not be ‘Jacks of all trades’

Posted on January 30th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 5 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Wouldn’t it be marvellous to have an open-ended training budget which included staff cover for when people were doing the courses, because there are lots of courses on offer; diabetes awareness, managing dysphagia, Parkinsons, glaucoma, macula degeneration, general sight loss, hearing loss, sarcopenia, apraxia, aphasia, renal dysfunction, skin care, dementia, end of life care, to name just a few in no particular order.

Knowledge is great, even if it’s just for it’s own sake, and where it can be applied it’s even more great, and there should always be blurred boundaries between professional disciplines as this facilitates two-way communication, but I think there is a danger that we might expect care workers to shoulder responsibilities that rightly should be borne by health professionals.

Care home residents tend to be getting on a bit and it’s a fair bet … Read More »


Surrey raises the stakes

Posted on January 23rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Surrey raises the stakes

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 »


No more ‘no comment’

Posted on January 16th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

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 »


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 »


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 »



Latest blog posts

Not the retiring sort

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

 

In the unlikely event of the queen’s ever asking me, “And what do you do?”, I will have a problem;...

It’s time for people power

 

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

It has been revealed that many people who have successfully negotiated the labyrinthine application process for NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) now...

Meeting responsibilities

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Junior health minister David Mowat, the one who drew the social care straw, had a go at talking himself out...