Category: CT blog


The NHS and all that jazz

Posted on July 16th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. No Comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week the National Health Service marked its 70th anniversary. The irony is that, when this all too human institution was inaugurated in 1948, average human life expectancy in the UK was still reckoned to be the biblical ‘three score years and ten’ or thereabouts. But this weekend, up and down the land, politicians could not officially open village fetes and the like without bringing in the phrase ‘let’s look forward to the next 70 years’ (they didn’t add ‘with growing apprehension’).

As an amateur musician, I did my bit at our local hospital fete before bunking off to the Swanage Jazz Festival (audience only – I’ll never be that good) and listened to real musicians work their magic with the classic jazz standards of the 1920s and ‘30s.

It occurred to me that, while music has moved … Read More »


The bland leaving the bland?

Posted on July 9th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

The headline for an interview which Sir David Behan, the Care Quality Commission’s departing chief executive, gave to The Guardian last week was ‘May must be bold to fix social care’. Well, there’s an original thought! With his expert knowledge and the freedom of impending retirement, Sir David could have weighed into the Government for delaying the publication of the Green Paper on funding, spelled out how it and its predecessor have dramatically cut care’s resource base over the last decade, or – if one must be politically even-handed – noted how successive governments over many years claimed that social care reform was vital but did nothing about it. In short he could have been bold.

Instead, we got the vagueness of ‘unmet need is increasing’, social care’s problems are ‘difficult and challenging’, older people should be … Read More »


IT comes to CQC

Posted on July 2nd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 1 Comment

By guest blogger JOHN BURTON

This month, IT is coming to CQC in person. David Behan is leaving, and DB’s replacement is IT, Ian Trenholm who, we are told, is going to “deliver technological innovation at scale to deliver benefits for people.” Cor Blimey! What a lot of delivery. That will be good, won’t it?

No, it probably won’t. At first I thought he must have been a truck driver for Curry’s but no, he was CEO at NHS Blood and Transplant and “delivered” a shed-load of digital management and transformation-speak to not much effect. Before that . . . more of the same at DEFRA and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and Hong Kong police and an MBA of course.

I wonder what he’ll make of the perpetual failure of CQC’s adult services inspectors to produce their reports on time. … Read More »


The future’s bright, alright?

Posted on June 25th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on The future’s bright, alright?

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

There has been a lot of debate about ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ borders of late (if it’s any help, I like my eggs somewhere between the two) and about ‘free movement’ – all I can say to that is perhaps put a few prunes in with the fruit salad. But perhaps I’m mistaking Brexit for breakfast. Easily done as I get a helping of both at exactly the same time each day; one from the fridge and the other from the radio and I confuse the crunch of my cornflakes with the Brexit serial.

What we haven’t heard much talk about is social care, which is great because it means the Government must be working on something really special for our sector: none of the token £20bn quick fixes they sling at the NHS.

What’s in store for … 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 »


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 »



Latest blog posts

The NHS and all that jazz

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week the National Health Service marked its 70th anniversary. The irony is that, when this all too human institution...

The bland leaving the bland?

By guest blogger JEF SMITH

The headline for an interview which Sir David Behan, the Care Quality Commission’s departing chief executive, gave to The Guardian...

IT comes to CQC

By guest blogger JOHN BURTON

This month, IT is coming to CQC in person. David Behan is leaving, and DB’s replacement is IT, Ian Trenholm...