Category: CT blog


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 »


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 »


Care homes – understated examples of tasteful design

Posted on June 4th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

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 them together using modern materials.

So why do we have to be confronted with bland expanses of glass, steel and concrete whenever we venture into a city? And I mean a city anywhere – London, Birmingham, Sydney, Chicago.

Sorry to keep banging on about my recent holiday, but it was to Italy and nowhere else in my experience is this brutalist approach to modern building design more apparent; set as it is, against some of the most elegant architecture mankind has ever produced.

On the more familiar soil of southern England I get to see a lot of new build care homes and they are overwhelmingly easy on the eye and situated among leafy open spaces. They don’t build … Read More »


Minding the gap

Posted on May 29th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Minding the gap

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I’m not long back from holiday, a short part of which was spent aboard Eurostar.

The scenery around Ebbsfleet and the north coast of France isn’t great so I whiled away some of the time in watching the information screen on which an animated sequence gave advice on how to alight from the train to the platform.

First it showed a bearded young man sproing down the step, swinging his backpack in one hand. Then we saw a rather portly middle-aged chap, with one foot on the step and one foot on the platform, demonstrate how to unload a heavy case. Then there was the figure of an adult man swinging a toddler down with the same arrangement of feet. And then came the little old lady.

Now the animator had done a good job with the little old … Read More »


Look East old chap

Posted on May 14th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A certain amount of self-regard is no bad thing, but I can’t say the same about those, usually younger, people who appear to be obsessed with ‘selfies’. Talk about narcissism run riot.

My first camera was a box-Brownie and I could take eleven monochrome exposures before I had to remove the film and send it away for processing – I certainly wasn’t going to waste any of those exposures on a selfie.

I graduated in time to a Nikon 35mm and became absorbed for a while in the then dark art of photography. I even had a darkroom wherein an enlarger glowed in the dull red illumination of the safe light like a bulbous Shinto shrine. Which brings me nicely on to all things Japanese.

Japan has led the way in so many areas: all things electronic including mobile … Read More »


The flowers that bloom in the Spring

Posted on May 8th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

We spent the long weekend just gone mainly in our garden and on our allotment, planting, pruning, weeding, watering and so on, and it got me thinking about the role of plants in our lives.

Years ago, when I was a nurse working on the wards I was bemused (and often irritated) by the number of bunches of flowers that people brought in for their ailing relatives and friends. I don’t know how they manage it now, but in those days, each ward had a ‘flower room’ for the storage of vases and as somewhere to store the dozens of arrangements at night.

Honestly, some patients were surrounded by so much greenery that I felt like Harrison Ford beating my way through an equatorial rainforest just to take the patient’s temperature. I’d almost swear they had hanging baskets … Read More »


Running to stand still

Posted on April 30th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week, in giving evidence to the – wait for it – Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee – Care England’s Professor Martin Green spoke of local authorities and care providers ‘running to stand still’ owing to inadequate resources and the difficulty in recruiting staff.

This put me in mind of a very old chap I regularly see in the town where I live, making his way about with his zimmer frame. His progress is painful to watch; once, while sitting in my car waiting for a friend, I monitored his progress and it took him just under four minutes to cover 40 yards (I paced the distance out later).

I often see him around, in a number of places, so I must assume that wherever it is he wants to … Read More »


A quick task for Monday morning

Posted on April 23rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on A quick task for Monday morning

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Any measure which will go some way to stemming the tide of promotional pablum which is flooding our computers has to be welcome.

There has been far too much of people playing fast and loose with other people’s personal information and I am pleased that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is soon to go live. But it does mean that I must seek your permission if you would like to receive the CT Blog by email.

So, I ask you to take a moment to email – editor@caringtimes.plus.com – receipt of which will be taken as confirmation that you would like to receive this weekly blog via email (No need to write anything; just put CT Blog in the subject field).

Although it will still be posted on this website, I hope you do elect to receive the blog by … Read More »


Sutherland: remember him?

Posted on April 16th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

Half a century ago I had a series of wonderfully happy working holidays in Sutherland, that most beautiful part of north-west Scotland. The name always brings back memories, so when I spotted the obituary of Lord Sutherland of Roundwood who died in late February, even though I didn’t recognise the name, I started reading just for nostalgia.

I soon realised, however, that this sadly missed peer was known to me by his pre-ennoblement title of Sir Stuart Sutherland. Now, does that ring bells? It should do, since 20 years ago Sir Stuart was appointed to head a Royal Commission on the funding of long term care.

The commission met the requirement of the government of the day to report within a year, but neither this almost unprecedented speed for the consideration of such a complicated issue, nor the report’s … Read More »


Postponing the inevitable

Posted on April 9th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

In expressing their pleasure at being allocated an extra £40m in funding, Dementia Research UK makes the startling claim that dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK.

Well it startled me. On about two-thirds of the death certificates issued for people with dementia who have died, the cause of death is ascribed as pneumonia so what we have here is the conundrum of causality and co-morbidity that commonly confronts doctors. I think that the most that can be said is that dementia is an increasingly common condition contributing to mortality.

But hey, massaged facts and grant funding are the best of bedfellows. The extra £40m is certainly good news for Dementia Research UK, and for all of us; I think everyone is personally disturbed by the thought of developing dementia. Dementia Research UK chief … 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...