It sometimes feels we are to blame for all the ills of the world
By guest blogger Leon Smith
The National Health Service is a complex and multi-faceted institution. Of necessity therefore it must attract the very brightest and most capable leaders available. The new chief executive Simon Stevens has made the observation that he would be “disappointed if nursing homes still existed in 50 years time . . .”. “. . . we need to do a better job of keeping the sick out of care homes . . .”
I found this statement somewhat shocking and indeed a little offensive, having worked in the care home sector my entire career. At a stroke, Mr Stevens has invalidated the work of the sector. What could possibly have driven such a cavalier statement?
Does Mr Stevens seriously believe that those living with the most severe symptoms and manifestations of dementia and those suffering from acute illnesses can really be cared for within the confines of their own home? There was of course a time when some people did live in care homes who by today’s standards did not need to do so.
That is not the case today. The majority of people are coming in to homes because there is no alternative. Many come in in crisis circumstances, having struggled to remain in their own home for as long as possible, where eventually home arrangements have broken down and/or where it has simply proved impossible to provide adequate levels of support.
The care home sector continues to provide a badly needed service to many hundreds of thousands of people, without which life would be intolerable and impossible. The utterances of Simon Stevens would appear to ignore this fact. Where exactly is the correlation between wheeling hospital beds occupied by TB sufferers onto open balconies in the freezing cold with the provision of high quality long term care in a purpose-built and loving environment?
One hesitates to use the word “scapegoat” . At times however working in the care sector it does feel a little as if we are to blame for all the ills of the world. One wonders just how familiar Simon Stevens is with the sector and with the excellence in care it is providing.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.