Category: CT blog


Delayed discharge oversight holds promise

Posted on March 20th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

Although post-Budget celebrations have been understandably muted, social care providers might derive some consolation from the Chancellor’s sub-text. The improvement measures planned for councils that struggle to reduce delayed transfers of care (DTOC) could offer wider-ranging potential.

Given the impracticability of isolating issues around DTOC from general commissioning practice, the likely ripple effects of external intervention could constitute the thick end of a regulatory wedge – especially if implemented by CQC. Providers have long been frustrated by local authorities’ in-house replacement for independent oversight of commissioning: LGA’s buddy scheme in which performance is assessed at mates’ rates. Now Whitehall also seems to have become exasperated.

At the request of the Department of Health, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has directed councils towards the straight and narrow with an idiot’s guide to providers’ costs*. This, remember, … Read More »


Not wishing to seem ungrateful, but . . .

Posted on March 13th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

The great and the good have comprehensively welcomed the extra £2bn over three years of our money which the Government has committed to fund the social care needs of those who lack the means to pay for it themselves.

It would have been churlish and mean-spirited to dismiss the Chancellor’s announcement as nothing more than the bare minimum the Government can do in order to avoid significant long term damage, if not the general collapse of the publicly-funded social care system, and the equally significant knock-on effects on the beleaguered NHS.

But I do wonder at the absence of any howls of protest at the insult implicit in the promise of yet another ‘green paper’ on a long term solution to social care funding. I see no evidence that this one will have any more legs … Read More »


Mixed provision in a mixed retirement market

Posted on March 6th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A man recently wrote to my local paper objecting to retirement units being built near to the centre of the town where I live.

“There is already more than enough retirement housing in the town,” he wrote. “Do we want to become a community of geriatrics?”

He has a point, particularly as younger people are being priced out of the town’s housing market. The writer mentioned that he himself was a pensioner in his 70s so we may assume that he enjoys living in a multigenerational community.

But around the country the township demographic is getting older and yet the supply of ‘age qualified’ housing in the UK is only about 0.05%, compared to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where it ranges between 5 and 7%.

‘Retirement villages’ and the like are enjoying a period of growth … Read More »


Health and social care: poles part in the public perception

Posted on February 27th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Health and social care: poles part in the public perception

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Despite increased media attention, social care remains a low priority issue in the mind of the general public.

Last week, in the latest ‘Issues Index’ published by IpsosMori and the Economist, British people ranked social care and an ageing population ninth in their list of concerns, overshadowed by Brexit, immigration, the economy, housing, unemployment, education, poverty and inequality.

Concern about the NHS came top of the poll, so are we to conclude that wider society is content for the needs of the relatively few elderly people who cannot pay their own way to be ignored, provided that we have a sufficiency of A&Es and maternity units?

I think that’s how government sees it; that spernding more public money on social care to reduce ‘bed blocking’ may not be a panacea for the NHS and that asset-poor elderly people … Read More »


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 »



Latest blog posts

Delayed discharge oversight holds promise

By guest blogger BOB FERGUSON

Although post-Budget celebrations have been understandably muted, social care providers might derive some consolation from the Chancellor’s sub-text. The improvement measures...

Not wishing to seem ungrateful, but . . .

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

The great and the good have comprehensively welcomed the extra £2bn over three years of our money which...

Mixed provision in a mixed retirement market

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A man recently wrote to my local paper objecting to retirement units being built near to the centre of...