Caring Times News


HC-One and GMB launch ‘Careforce’ to promote careers in care

Posted on June 21st, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on HC-One and GMB launch ‘Careforce’ to promote careers in care

HC-One, the UK’s biggest care home provider, and the GMB Union came together at the House of Commons in mid-June to launch Careforce, an initiative which champions careers in care.

Devised by HC-One and GMB, Careforce has been prompted by increasing demand caused by an ageing population, low pay caused by inadequate funding arrangements and poor morale caused by relentlessly negative media coverage, which means operators are struggling to recruit and retain the people required to provide care to society’s frail elderly and other vulnerable people.

“Ensuring our residents are happy and fulfilled is our top priority at HC-One,” said the company’s chief executive Justin Hutchens, speaking at the launch.

“That is why I am so excited about celebrating our new recognition agreement with the GMB by launching the Careforce initiative and promoting the professionalisation of care work. Encouraging socially-committed and ambitious people … Read More »


Release of Green Paper on social care put back to Autumn

Posted on June 19th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Release of Green Paper on social care put back to Autumn

Publication of the long awaited Government’s Green Paper on social care funding, promised for this Summer, has again been delayed and is now scheduled to be published this Autumn.

When the report was first announced, it was scheduled for release last Autumn but then, in November, the Government said release had been deferred until this Summer.

Now it’s been put back again. Yesterday’s announcement of the deferment followed an earlier announcement of a £20bn increase in funding towards the National Health Service, and the development of a 10-year plan for NHS sustainability.

The National Care Forum (NCF), which represents not-for-profit providers, said the delay would cause further disruption to an already fragile social care sector.

“The need for action on social care is now” said NCF executive director Vic Rayner.

“We were promised a Green Paper on social care this Summer, way before the current … Read More »


Time for a ten dollar answer

Posted on June 18th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 4 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Ernest Hemingway was known for his minimalist style and he used to pooh-pooh what he called “ten-dollar” words. Not to compare myself with Hemingway but I love strange and exotic expressions, so you’ll forgive me I’m sure when I say that public and private provision of social care has developed into a dichotomy which increasingly challenges our ideas of social justice.

A recent report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies says adult social care spending has fallen by 9% per person over the past decade, with cuts varying around the country but tending to be larger in more deprived areas. Over the same period growing demand has seen fees in private pay care homes, mainly in the southern half of England, steadily increase and corporate providers have been building enthusiastically, again mainly in the southern half of … Read More »


More providers on CQC’s market oversight list

Posted on June 15th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on More providers on CQC’s market oversight list

The number of care operators included on the Care Quality Commission’s market oversight list has increased by 44%, rising from 39 in July 2015 to 56 in May 2018.

At a public board meeting of the CQC in May it was reported that the risk profile had deteriorated to such an extent that there has been a 36 percentage points increase in the number of providers that are subjected to higher levels of scrutiny.

The report said the CQC’s market oversight team’s workload had substantially increased and the unit had recently obtained agreement to increase its establishment headcount.

Market oversight data showed that profit margins had remained fairly resilient despite an almost 50% increase in agency expenditure across the market oversight portfolio since December 2015 but the overall level of return was insufficient to attract meaningful new investment into local authority funded capacity … Read More »


Guide helps care homes give better support to armed services veterans

Posted on June 14th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Guide helps care homes give better support to armed services veterans

A guide was launched in early June to help care homes provide better support for the hundreds of thousands of service men and women in living in care settings in the UK.

Produced by Demos think tank, in partnership with the Forces in Mind Trust and the Care Cluster of Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities), the guide will be sent to all UK care homes and care home provider headquarters.

Demos director Polly Mackenzie said the guide had been created in response to the 2015 Demos report ‘Under-Served’.

“The report found that veterans can face a range of challenges while living in residential care, yet managers and staff lack the information and resources they needed to know how best to support them,” said Ms Mackenzie.

“The aim of the guide is to fill that gap.‘Supporting Military Veterans in Residential Care – a practical … Read More »


Pyjama scrubs reduce sleep deprivation at Runcorn care home

Posted on June 13th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Pyjama scrubs reduce sleep deprivation at Runcorn care home

Pyjama-style uniforms for care home night staff have significantly reduced sleep deprivation, pacing and

disorientation among residents living with dementia.

The switch to scrubs covered in cartoon cats and love hearts was trialled at Simonsfield care home in Runcorn, Cheshire.

Staff are required to conduct regular checks on residents and both the day and night teams previously wore the same blue scrubs. Many of the home’s residents with dementia had trouble differentiating between the two and this could confuse them about sleeping times. Disorientation and pacing was a regular occurrence during night time hours, leading to sleep deprivation and associated lack of energy, irritability and mood swings.

Infection control guidelines mean staff cannot wear pyjamas, so home manager Debbie Smith came up with the idea of cartoon patterned scrubs for night staff.

“We thought we’d try out scrubs that mimic pyjamas for the night carers … Read More »


Stop treating people as commodities, says Care England

Posted on June 12th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Stop treating people as commodities, says Care England

Provider representative body Care England has voiced its ongoing concern about Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) used by some local authorities to award social care contracts.

The process, also known as a ‘reverse auction’, requires providers to bid, within a short timeframe, to care for people whose care needs are put online. Care England believes this is being done with the deliberate aim of driving down the price of care, and so risking the quality of social care services.

“People must not be treated akin to commodities,” said Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green.

“Choice should be paramount whilst cost should not be the sole factor when allocating care.” Staffordshire is one of the growing number of local authorities to have used DPS for new clients and has only offered a 1% uplift in 2018/19 for existing residential and nursing home placements despite … Read More »


Lacking capacity

Posted on June 11th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Lacking capacity

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

A friend of mine diagnosed with cancer – now, happily, treated – was asked how he could possibly have missed the early warning signs. His response was that he had moved house the previous year and that dealing with that had taken up all of his mental energy. It is dangerous to make comparisons between individuals and larger social systems, but in this instance there are revealing parallels.

The Government has some big problems on its hands, but Brexit looms over everything else, absorbing the time of ministers and senior civil servants to such an extent that other important issues are simply not getting the attention they merit. Similarly, inside DHOASC, the Department of Health (Oh, and Social Care), the financial crisis of the NHS is clearly overshadowing care’s desperate funding problems.

Within the Brexit debate, various aspects of the … Read More »


Belong raises £50m through Retail Charity Bond

Posted on June 8th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Belong raises £50m through Retail Charity Bond

An investment bond launched on behalf of care village provider Belong has raised £50m and closed early due to high demand from investors.

The bond, which was offered by Retail Charity Bonds plc, was launched on 23 May and closed early on 31 May. The proceeds will be used to further Belong’s charitable objectives as well as to develop additional Belong villages. It offered an interest rate of 4.5% a year for a term of eight years.

Within eight days the offer was oversubscribed and orders from investors had to be reduced or turned away. Belong will borrow £35m initially when the bonds are issued on 20 June, but a further £15m of ‘retained bonds’ will be created which can be sold and the extra money loaned to Belong at a later date.

The bond is the eighth and one of the largest … Read More »


Investment manager Downing exits five care homes following £65m investment

Posted on June 7th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Investment manager Downing exits five care homes following £65m investment

Investment manager Downing LLP has financially exited from a group of five trading care homes, comprising more than 390 beds, managed by Care Concern Group.

Downing has worked closely with Care Concern since 2012, investing some £65m across nine care home projects, including new-build developments, operational improvement projects, extensions and repositioning of existing homes.

Downing investment director Mark Gross said the company’s exit from the five care homes to an undisclosed real estate investor would see the repayment of Downing funds’ capital and would generate an attractive return to Downing’s investors across both the debt and equity provided. Care Concern will continue to operate the homes.

“We are delighted to have completed the exit from a number of our investments alongside the Care Concern Group,” said Mr Gross.

“We believe the estate includes some of the best care homes in the UK, providing high-quality … Read More »





Latest blog posts

Time for a ten dollar answer

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Ernest Hemingway was known for his minimalist style and he used to pooh-pooh what he called “ten-dollar” words. Not to...

Lacking capacity

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

A friend of mine diagnosed with cancer – now, happily, treated – was asked how he could possibly have missed the...

Care homes – understated examples of tasteful design

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Dozens of recently-built care homes are material proof that it is perfectly possible to design aesthetically pleasing buildings and put...