Category: CT blog


Do as you would be done by

Posted on September 24th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I have been contacted by a man who is unhappy about the “administration fee” which some providers charge when someone becomes a resident in a care home. In this man’s case the provider charged the family an adminstration fee of £980 – the exact equivalent of one week’s care fees.

The man has written to the provider asking for an explanation of the direct relationship between one week’s care fees and the adminstration charge, requesting a detailed breakdown of administration performed. I do not know whether he has received a reply.

While I am sure that providers do incur some additional costs when admitting someone as a resident, £980 seems a bit steep and the equivalence to one week’s care fees does smack of the kind of rapacious commercial practice which has given the private sector a … Read More »


Public/private integration of social care is the first challenge

Posted on September 20th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Public/private integration of social care is the first challenge

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I think the phrase ‘put your own house in order first’ comes from the Bible; whatever its provenance, it certainly comes to my mind whenever I hear talk of health and social care integration.

Being one big household would bring a lot of benefits but each side, health and social care, should try to avoid bringing problems with them.

The NHS is not entirely without problems, some of which are only likely to go away once it begins to look at social care as an equal partner, but I think it is yet to cotton-on to the idea of systems with flexibility to meet people’s needs, rather than people having to fit in with a rigid system.

Social care is in no better position, but with us it’s more about commissioning and public funding, with private providers pragmatically focusing … Read More »


Evasion comes naturally – caring too, but we need to work at it

Posted on September 10th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Who remembers the ‘Peanuts’ cartoons in which Lucy is forever snatching the football away just as the ever-trusting Charlie Brown is about to kick it?

Well, you know the green paper which, after two deferrals, the Government said it would publish in the autumn? That’s right; the one on social care funding? Well, it’s no longer clear which autumn the Government has in mind.

Speaking at Age UK’s Late Life conference last week, care services minister Caroline Dinenage, in a ministerial masterpiece of vague assurances and resolute non-committal, admitted there was “a chance that publication of the green paper would be further delayed’”.

“Publishing of the green paper is entirely our aspiration,” Caroline cooed, stressing that the document had an important place in creating a fair care system and was “high up on the Government’s agenda”. Then she … Read More »


Punish these guilty parliamentarians!

Posted on September 3rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

Eighty-four per cent of Members of Parliament agree that local authorities should get additional funding for social care. Great news! At least that’s how it was greeted by the Local Government Association (LGA) which commissioned the survey. ‘The overwhelming majority’, ’far reaching cross-party support’, ‘now even MPs and peers agree that social care funding … must be increased’, its press release crowed.

But hang on a minute. Extra funds for care is pretty much a no-brainer these days, so how come that as many as 16% of our elected representatives oppose it? Can it really be that out of a House of Commons with 650 members, more than 90 believe that social care needs no additional resources? It gets worse. An even higher percentage of peers, 24% – that’s getting on for 200 – want to deprive care … Read More »


CQC ratings – a seasonal shift?

Posted on August 28th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger ANNE SMITH

I want to offer a thought on the adverse affect summer holidays can have on the CQC rating if care homes are inspected over this period.

Having inspected and been inspected over the summer holidays, it seems to me that this holiday period can seriously affect a care home’s CQC rating. Even a home with good annual leave management only needs a few extra staff absences. A leaver or two and some staff sickness can render it short of staff and/or left exposed to the inconsistent supply of agency staff, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Outcomes can become poorer as a result. If inspectors visit, they may learn of longer waiting times for care, resident and staff reports of staff shortages and perhaps a lesser standard of cleanliness. The scores on the doors can be slowly chipped … Read More »


Spending wisely on research

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

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Organisations dealing with dementia often lament the relatively modest sums spent on research to combat the disease, compared with the amounts which other conditions, say cancer or heart disease, attract.

On one level it’s easy to see why; cancer and heart disease can strike any of us at almost any stage of our lives, certainly by the time we reach early middle-age. Dementia, on the other hand, with some uncommon exceptions, is an overwhelmingly age-related illness.

I’m not saying that any sort of ageism is operating; it’s just that most of us would like to live to a ripe old age with a modicum of health, and if the price of that is dying of dementia in our ninth or tenth decade, well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof if we can keep cancer and … Read More »


A deal of uncertainty

Posted on August 13th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Apart from death, taxes and a messy Brexit we live in a world of uncertainty. In social care we’ve got uncertainty in spades, with the ace being the big curly question mark poised above a green paper on funding which the Government might get around to publishing sometime soon.

Then there’s recruitment: continuing the playing cards image, let’s call that the king.

Next in the honours list is the queen, representing the £400m Sword of Damocles which remains hanging over specialist care providers now that UNISON has appealed to the Supreme Court over payments for sleep-in shifts.

Let’s make health and social care intergration the jack – high on the agenda, but not so high that there’s been any real progress with truly joined-up service provision for the past decade or so.

Then there’s all the other uncertainties around … Read More »


Away with words

Posted on August 6th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JOHN BURTON

Most organisations have a way with words – PR. “We are an open and honest organisation and the welfare/happiness/satisfaction/safety of our customers/users/stakeholders/the public is our first priority. Please tell us about your experience. We are a learning organisation.” And so on. Think of the banks and the energy suppliers, the rail and water companies. Honest and open as the day is long . . . always have been. They have only their customers at heart.

On July 24th CQC posted an article on their website: “Review of safeguarding alerts”. On July 18th “CQC identified a technical issue within our data management system that may have delayed or prevented the timely referral of some safeguarding information to local authorities.” [https://www.cqc.org.uk/news/stories/review-safeguarding-alerts] The article goes on to say that there were 96 such “concerns” since last July and none of … Read More »


Social care’s other users

Posted on July 30th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

I wish I understood more about how government policies get made, but I suspect that happenstance plays a bigger part than is generally allowed for. On 24 July, for example, Matt Hancock, the recently appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced that ‘the green paper will cover adult social care as a whole’. This reversed the previous position, which was that the green paper would deal only with services for older people, while a so-called ‘parallel’ exercise would address the situation of younger people with disabilities.

The change surfaced not in a formal statement but in an apparently casual answer to an oral question at a session of the Select Committee on Health and Social Care. Would we have known about it if that MP had not expressed his fear that ‘working age social care … Read More »


Dropping your bundle

Posted on July 23rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week I was approached by a law firm who wanted to submit an article on assisted dying, in the wake of the recent Neil Conway case (lost in the Court of Appeal at the end of June).

After some thought I declined the offer, saying that, after sounding out this topic with a few care providers, I had got the sense they felt it was not a topic they should weigh into: that it was a question for wider society to decide. I mentioned also that while some providers felt the current law is fit for purpose, they would not wish to say so for fear of being accused of being cynically concerned about keeping-up occupancy. (To be accurate I heard this from only one provider and I think he was being a little jocular).

If new … Read More »



Latest blog posts

Do as you would be done by

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I have been contacted by a man who is unhappy about the “administration fee” which some providers charge when someone...

Public/private integration of social care is the first challenge

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I think the phrase ‘put your own house in order first’ comes from the Bible; whatever its provenance, it certainly...

Evasion comes naturally – caring too, but we need to work at it

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Who remembers the ‘Peanuts’ cartoons in which Lucy is forever snatching the football away just as the ever-trusting Charlie Brown...