Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Local Authorities Struggling to Implement the 2014 Care Act 2014

A review of Care Act literature, carried out by the Independent Living Strategy Group and published by the charity In-Control, has concluded that those affected by the Care Act have ‘generally’ been left unable to exercise sufficient choice and control over their care, with inadequate information about care options and service user’s rights being made available by local councils.

The Care Act places a duty on councils to provide information and advice about types of care, support available, service user’s rights under the Care Act and the choice of care providers in the area. All eligible service users are entitled to a personal budget but In-Control’s review found that this entitlement was ‘rarely emphasised’ in the quick guides to the Care Act produced by some councils.
Researchers also found evidence of some local authorities inferring that people opting to have their personal budget managed by the council would have less control over how it was spent than those choosing to receive a direct payment. The Care Act guidance states that the way a person opts to manage a personal budget should put “no constraint” on how their needs are met as long as “this is reasonable”.
Researchers asked people in receipt of care and support about their experiences over the year prior to the Care Act coming into force.
Of the 399 people who responded to the survey, almost half felt their quality of life had reduced and almost a third (30%) said that they had experienced a reduction of choice and control. Some 29% reported restrictions being placed on their use of direct payments or personal budgets, with 14% limited to choosing their care from a shortlist of providers. The study authors said these limited lists are at odds with the “vision of personalised care” underpinning the Care Act.
Disability researcher Jenny Morris said there was a “yawning gap” between the principles of the act and how it was being implemented in practice.
“Personal budgets were supposed to enable everyone who needed social care support to have the kind of choice and control that was previously only open to those receiving direct payments. Instead, they have been rolled out in the context of a major financial crisis facing adult social care, and the result is not only a reduction in choice but also a decrease in the quality of people’s everyday lives,” she said.
“This is the government’s responsibility and they must act.”
In a bid to help local authorities meet their Care Act obligations, In-Control has produced a checklist of information for people receiving care and support.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Yellow Kite to Take a Candid Look at Young People’s Mental Health

Emily Reynold’s A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind will be published under the Yellow Kite brand (part of Hodder & Stoughton) in 2017. 

A warts and all exploration of living with mental illness in the 21st century, the book will consider the experiences and needs of young sufferers and their carers through personal accounts, as well provide guidance to those learning to live with and understand complex mental health issues. 
Emily Reynolds, based in London, has written about mental health, feminism, sex, science and tech for the Observer, VICE, Wired UK, The Debrief and the Independent, and sits on the National Lottery’s Youth Leadership Panel.  Emily said: “There have been many times in my life when I wished I had a practical but empathetic guide to dealing with my mental illness - and that's what motivated me to write this book. I hope that people going through similar experiences will find it comforting to know they're not alone, that the advice in the book will be genuinely helpful to them, and that it will help their friends and family understand a little better too.”

Assistant Editor, Maddy Price said: “Emily’s honesty and compassion immediately struck a chord with me. Her book is a powerful personal story combined with enormously helpful and practical advice, and is the perfect tool for the hundreds of thousands of young people suffering from mental health issues today. I’m absolutely thrilled that Emily has found a publishing home at Hodder & Stoughton.”

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

UCL Students Win £100k in Housing Dispute

87 tenants who have been on rent strike since May, in protest against the state of their housing, have each been awarded a rebate equal to 1 term’s rent.
The tenants had been threatened with exclusion from their studies but the university complaints panel has now ordered UCL to pay the tenants £1.3k each, equal to a term’s rent.
Students reported that demolition work nearby had made sleeping and studying impossible and that the building had become infested with rats.
The panel found that university management demonstrated “a lack of empathy towards the students’ circumstances and no understanding or appreciation of what would be an acceptable student experience”.
“Overall the living conditions with which the residents of Campbell House West were faced with were unacceptable and their experiences were not in-keeping with that expected for students of UCL,” it said.
The panel also found managers were “disingenuous to the students concerned”.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

CQC to Review NHS Data Security During Inspections

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, has announced a Care Quality Commission review into the way NHS organisations handle confidential patient information. 
Dame Fiona Caldicott, the National Data Guardian, will contribute to this review by developing clear guidelines for the protection of personal data against which every NHS and care organisation will be held to account.
The CQC will consider how best to measure the implementation of these guidelines and will make recommendations with a view to incorporating checks into existing inspection processes.
This work will be completed in January 2016.
Welcoming the announcement, CQC's Chief Executive David Behan said:
"People need to have trust in the NHS and have confidence that their personal medical records will be secure and protected at all times. We welcome the Secretary of State's request for us to carry out a national review of security arrangements across the NHS for patient-confidential medical information. We will work with Dame Fiona and others on this important issue."

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Hospices Commended by CQC with Good or Better Ratings

Saturday was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day and UK hospices could hold their heads up high, as the CQC revealed that over 90% (34 out of 37) of hospices inspected have been judged to be Outstanding or Good.
These ratings also mark one year on since CQC introduced its more rigorous and expert-led approach that assesses hospices across England on whether they are safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.
CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “I know from what my inspectors are finding and from what my own friends and family have told me, hospices provide amazing care and support for people at the end of their lives. What better day to celebrate and mark this than World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.
“It is very encouraging that over 90% of hospices are proving to be Good or Outstanding so far. This is just what we should expect and what people certainly deserve at the end of their lives.
“Success starts with strong leaders who motivate, value and support skilled staff to go the extra mile in sensitively caring for every single person as an individual.
“I encourage people to take the time to read through our latest reports to see how great care can be done.”
Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Hospice UK, said: “Hospices are special places carrying out vital work so we are extremely pleased to see that the vast majority of those inspected have been rated either outstanding or good. It’s a testament to the dedication and expertise of the staff and volunteers who provide hospice care across the country.
“Hospice UK worked closely with the CQC to make sure that hospice service inspections acknowledged their special role in the community and we are so proud to see this system reflect the great care that they make available to dying people and their loved ones.

“Our country’s hospice movement is one of the major reasons that the UK is ranked as the best in the world in meeting palliative care needs but we must not be complacent. Hospices have a great deal to offer, and are working increasingly closely with hospitals, care homes and other social care services to ensure people receive the best quality of care at the end of life, wherever they might be.”

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Samuel Johnson Book Prize Short List Announced

The shortlist for the £20,000 Samuel Johnson book prize has been announced.  The prize aims to reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of all non-fiction books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography autobiography and the arts.
There are 6 books in total on the list, with themes as diverse as autism, the digital age and Guantánamo Bay.
The Shortlist
·        Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life by Jonathan Bate (William Collins).
•     Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton).
•     The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott (William Heinemann).
•     The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky (Atlantic Books).
•     This Divided Island by Samantha Subramanian (Atlantic Books).
Titles on the long list were hotly debated before the final list was reached.
Anne Applebaum, chair of the panel, said “We didn’t quite come to blows, but the shortlist meeting was truly contentious,” she said. “It’s hard to imagine how five people sitting in a room on a weekday morning could have disagreed more strongly.”

The winner will be announced on 2 November.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Is the Creation of a Northern Powerhouse Achievable?

The Centre for Economic and Business Research and the law firm Irwin Mitchell have published research into business growth over the next 10 years.  
They report that the cities which make up the ‘northern powerhouse’ will not grow as quickly as London over the next 10 years, despite Conservative efforts to close the already existing gap in prosperity. 
London’s economy is forecast to grow by 27% by 2025, whilst the combined rate of growth across northern cities is almost half that.  The findings account for improvements resulting from regeneration projects, improvements in transport and the devolving of power from the centre already announced. 
Northern business leaders have long supported the development of road links over high speed rail to support the revitalisation of their cities, something support by this report, and have campaigned for a local, rather than national, living wage. In addition to these measures the CEBR believe that allowing regions to set tax rates (the Conservative party announced the devolution of business rates at their conference this week) and the introduction of more enterprise zones around universities would help to address the imbalance.
Scott Corfe, head of macroeconomics at CEBR, said: “After winning the May general election, David Cameron vowed to lead a ‘one nation’ Conservative government. Yet significant announcements to spread growth across the UK have been surprisingly lacking to date.
“Without more radical measures, David Cameron risks breaking his vow, particularly as further austerity has the potential to hold back the economies of some of the UK’s poorest regions. It is vital that private enterprise is allowed to thrive in these regions as a way of offsetting austerity.”
Niall Baker, head of business legal services at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Although it is good news that London and the south-east will continue to prosper, it’s clear that a radical rethink of the government’s wealth spreading agenda is required. Investment in infrastructure is one part of the mix and we believe that the government needs to listen to the voice of business and employ a range of policies tailored to different regions.”

Monday, 5 October 2015

CQC Places Reading GP Practice into Special Measures.

London Street Surgery, Reading has been placed into special measures following a comprehensive CQC inspection, rating the practice as inadequate.
Criticisms focused on a lack of clear leadership and limited formal governance systems. Staff were unclear about processes and procedures for reporting incidents, near-misses and concerns, and there was little or no evidence of structured learning to drive forward improvements in care. 
Clinical audits were not always effective, CCG prescribing targets had not been met and some areas of the quality and outcomes framework required improvement.
Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice said:
“We have found significant areas of concern, which is why we are placing this practice into special measures. This will enable them to receive a package of support to help them improve, from NHS England and the Royal College of General Practice (RCGP)”.
Dr Geoff Payne, Medical Director, NHS England said:
“The CQC report for London Street Surgery rates the practice as good for providing a caring service and staff have been commended for their commitment to patient-focused care. However, there are several areas where improvements need to be made in the management of the practice including the administration of meetings, staff capacity, medicines management and sharing and acting upon learning”.
“Patient safety is our top priority. Together with South Reading Clinical Commissioning Group, we are supporting the practice to develop and implement action plans so that they can make improvements quickly.
“We encourage patients to continue to support the practice during this time.”