Thursday, July 21, 2011

Private enterprise and the NHS

Beyond any doubt the NHS and the private sector have always been strange bed-fellows from day on in 1948 to date , after all the NHS was made up of privatized hospitals and clinics run for profit or charitable ends .

But hang on a second , dentist GP's and a few others managed to escape the net and became self employed contractors to the new health service and have remain so to date and are indeed set to increase this independence

Also many service aspects of the NHS are run by private firms as are some mental health and a host of other support services .

So before we all throw up our hands in horror at the specter of private enterprise in the NHS lets just take stock of what it really means .

Monday, July 18, 2011

Southern Cross Landlords set to run care homes

So according to the news papers ,one of the biggest landlords to care home operator Southern Cross aims to take back control of homes it leases to the group and set up business on its own.

NHP, the owner of 250 homes currently run by Southern Cross, is expected to announce today that it will form a new operating company to run the homes in conjunction with another organization , they are said to have secured the necessary funding and working capital and expects to achieve a seamless transition with no disruption for residents

The fact remains that the care home sector in the UK is still very vulnerable;e and what is really needed is robust and swift implementation of the Dilnot report

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spending more on the NHS ?

The following excellent article is from the BBC news page , Professor Appleby puts forward , in my humble opinion some very strong arguments for increased spending being a viable option re the NHS


Spending more on the NHS is not necessarily unaffordable - despite the claims of ministers, a leading health expert says.

A major part of the justification for the overhaul of the NHS was that spending would spiral out of control.

But Professor John Appleby, of the King's Fund, said even a doubling of the budget over 20 years was possible.

Writing for the British Medical Journal website, he said it was about whether the NHS was prioritised even more.

Ministers have spent the past few months arguing that the ageing population, rising cost of drugs and factors like obesity mean spending demands would outstrip what was affordable in the coming years.

In an article in the Daily Telegraph last month, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley suggested on current trends £230bn would need to be spent on health by 2030 compared to the £103bn which is spent now.

He said that figure was one that the country "simply could not afford".

But Prof Appleby, the chief economist at the think-tank, questioned that.

He said taking into account the expected growth in the economy a budget of £230bn would require the health budget to rise at about 4% a year above inflation - only a little more than it has got on average since 1948.

Such rises would bring total health spending, including investment in private health care, to about 12.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) - roughly in line with what high spending countries such as the Netherlands are already spending.

Prof Appleby added: "It is a question of priorities really. It could be afforded, but would just require more money to be spent on health. But we are not talking about ridiculous amounts."

But a Department of Health spokeswoman insisted such spending would constitute a "financial crisis".

She added: "The right approach is to change the way that the NHS spends its budget so that it matches patients' needs better - rather than simply spending much larger sums on patterns of care and service which don't match the changing health needs of the population."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Castlebeck and care

So the BBC tell us that "Allegations of abuse are being investigated at a home for people with learning disabilities in Bristol, four members of staff have been suspended at Rose Villa, a nine-bed rehabilitation centre in the Brislington area. "

Now Rose Villa is run by Castlebeck, who also ran Winterbourne View which is now the subject of numerous inquiries and police investigations

Castlebeck confirmed staff had been suspended and an inquiry was under way

So what has the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to say ? well in a statement, the CQC said it had been reviewing all services provided by Castlebeck across England.

The statement added: "Following an inspection of Rose Villa]on 1/7/2011 our inspectors drew the manager's attention to two separate issues.

Now I think that this is only the tip of the ice berg and many more cases of abuse are just waiting to be exposed in the whole of the care industry , I pray to God I am wrong , but fear I will be proved right .

Can care for profit every actually work ? I think not

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why social care has to change

The following article by Mr Triggle is well worth a read , its throws light on some of the preconceptions that we have on this topic and clearly defines the problems that face us as a society in the years to come .

Analysis: Why social care has to change
By Nick Triggle
Health correspondent, BBC News

Everyone agrees the social care system is out-of-date.

When it was created after the Second World War under the 1948 National Assistance Act the idea was to create a safety net for the most vulnerable in society.

But the support was only ever meant to be short-term. Back in the late 1940s people tended to only live a few years after retiring.

Now the situation is very different. Many live for 20 years after stopping work and children born today will probably spend a third of their life in retirement.

Granted, advances in medicine mean people are living for longer in relatively good health.

But that does not mean they will not need some help with basic tasks like washing, dressing and eating.

Research suggests three quarters of people over the age of 65 still develop a care need.

Similar patterns have emerged for people with disabilities. For example, even 30 years ago many people with Down's syndrome died before they were 25. Sixty is not uncommon now.

Unsurprisingly, the effect of people living longer has been to put the social care system under greater strain.

Concerns have been raised about the quality of services people have been receiving.

A recent report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission described cases of people being left in bed for 17 hours or more between care visits and a failure to wash people regularly.

But those are the "lucky" ones who get help at all.

Councils are increasingly having to ration access to state-funded support. Six years ago half of councils provided help to those with moderate needs, but that has now fallen to 15%.

It means in most areas of England support is only provided to those with the most acute problems - effectively people who need round-the-clock help.

In reality, the system has been rationed as much as it can be.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the feeling of unfairness that has been associated with people having to sell their homes.

The rise in the value of property over the past few decades has pushed many above the means-tested threshold, forcing them to pay for their care if they have to go into a residential home.

For some - an estimated 50,000 a year - the only option is to relinquish the family home.

But if that is not enough, the problem is about to get much worse.

As is the case with NHS reform, the ageing population demands that new solutions are found.

The baby boomer generation is approaching old age - and that means a tidal wave of new people who will need help.

Over the next 20 years the number of over 70-year-olds will jump by 50% in the next 20 years to top 9.6m, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Without radical change, many believe the safety net created all those years ago will break.

SMART attitude to MH

This link is from the blog of Mz Dawn Willis

Tucked away in the basement of a building in Chelsea is a small charity with big ambitions. #mhuk #ukmh #SMART
Posted on July 2, 2011 by Dawn Willis