Recommended reading – John Kennedy’s care home enquiry
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
Those of us whose job it is to read and digest the endless reports on aspects of social care that are published on an almost weekly basis might be excused for stifling an “Oh hum” when yet another arrives in our ‘In’ basket, but I venture that the latest report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation deserves a little more enthusiasm.
Written by JRF’s director of care services John Kennedy, the report (simply titled John Kennedy’s Care Home Enquiry), took a fresh approach to find out what people really thought of the sector, using social media to broaden the range of views and seek an honest and immediate response from those closest to care homes.
By far the most emphatic of the findings in the report is that care workers are undervalued, undertrained and underpaid, echoing the sentiment of Baroness Kingsmill in her report earlier this year.
Mr Kennedy also complains of under-funding and too much paperwork but, and I think this is the most striking of his themes, he argues for more rather than less regulation: “regulation should be more than inspection . . . it should look at pay and working conditions, staffing levels, mission, commissioning practices and transparency of tariffs, in order to improve the quality of care. To be good, care homes need to work in a functional system.”
Of course, governments have always taken the line that reports are there to be ignored but the good ones do help us to build up a true picture of what it is that governments are failing to do. Certainly for me, reading John Kennedy’s report has thrown the social care sector into much sharper focus and crystallised the fundamentals of what needs to change. I hope others will take the time to read it: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/john-kennedys-care-home-inquiry
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