Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Social Work Fast Track University Training Scheme Now Open to Graduates

Applications are now open for Step Up to Social Work, a 14-month programme that combines real-world experience in a local authority social work team with high-quality university training.

Successful candidates will be awarded a postgraduate diploma in social work when they graduate, allowing them to register and practice as a social worker.

The Step Up to Social Work programme runs every 2 years, with more students qualifying as social workers each time. In 2015, 300 students completed their training and over 420 students are expected to graduate in June this year. Many of those graduating will be offered a trainee social worker role with the local authority where they trained.

This year more than 550 funded places are available to support trainees. After applications close in May, students will start training in January 2018.

The government-backed scheme aims to make social work a career that many more people will aspire and have the opportunity to join.  It is backed up by over £800 million in investment in social worker training and improvement, through teaching partnerships, bursaries and the fast-track programmes Frontline and Step Up.

Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, said "I know from my own experience what a challenging and fulfilling career child and family social work is, and I’m pleased to see that this programme is encouraging more people to consider it. Programmes like this one are attracting hundreds of talented graduates each year, who could make a real difference to the lives of children and families."

Candidates are eligible to apply if they have a 2:1 degree, or a 2:2 plus a higher degree, which can include a master’s degree or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, in a discipline other than social work. They should also have the equivalent of a GCSE grade C in maths and English, and experience of working with children, young people or families.

You can find out more at 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

CQC Introduces New Equality Objectives for Health and Social Care

The CQC has published ambitious new equality objectives for 2017-19.  Affecting how they operate internally and many of the services they inspect.

The new objectives focus on the CQC’s regulatory role in improving equality.

Through their inspections, they will check that providers make person-centred care work for everyone, from all equality groups – for example for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people using adult social care or mental health inpatient services.

They will be looking at:
  • reducing barriers and improving access to primary care for migrants, asylum seekers, Gypsies and Travellers, to help address their poor health outcomes.
  • how people in specific equality groups are supported on referral, transfer between services - including adult social care services and health services - on discharge from hospital and in primary care.
  • leadership for equality - making sure the leadership that is needed in health and social care services, to ensure equality, is present. 

The Objectives

  1. Person centred care and equality
  2. Accessible information and communication
  3. Equality and the well-led provider
  4. Equal access to pathways of care
  5. Continue to improve equality of opportunity for our staff and those seeking to join CQC.

Further Information

You can find out more about these objectives and how they will be measured at:

Monday, 27 March 2017

CQC Has Significant Concerns About Independent Ambulance Providers

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling on independent ambulance services in England to ensure they care for their patients safely after its inspections to date have found significant concerns.

To date 39 reports on independent ambulance providers have been published and enforcement action has been taken against 25 providers.

Specific concerns identified by the CQC include:
  • A lack of attention to fundamental safety processes and variable standards in relation to governance and risk management.
  • Problems with the recruitment processes, including failures to ensure staff have had their DBS checks or that they hold the correct driving licence categories and expectations (e.g. to operate heavier vehicles or to have had blue-light training).
  • Staff not always recognising or escalating safeguarding concerns and a lack of appropriate safeguarding training.
  • Concerns around incident reporting including poor reporting systems and limited evidence of learning from incidents.
  • Infection prevention and control standards not always been followed and concerns about vehicle and equipment maintenance.
  • Concerns regarding medicines management, including their storage on the vehicles.
  • Patients often finding it difficult to make a complaint about their care and a failure to use of complaints as a learning opportunity.
In a letter sent to all independent ambulance providers in England the CQC has highlighted its emerging concerns and reminded providers of their commitment to provide safe and effective care. The CQC has also warned those that have not been inspected yet, that they will be scrutinised in the same level of detail so that CQC can be sure patients are being cared for safely and appropriately.

Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said “Providers have a responsibility to ensure the safety and appropriate treatment of the people within their care. Having inspected around 20 per cent of the independent ambulance providers registered in England so far, we are concerned that some may be putting patients at risk.

"Patient safety must be a priority at all times. Vehicles used to transport patients must be clean and fitted with the right equipment, staff must be appropriately trained and supported to carry out their roles effectively, and medicines must be stored securely and administered by staff trained to do so.

"We know that there are some independent ambulance services doing all these things and providing very good care, but unfortunately, our emerging findings suggest that this is not always the case. Where we have found concerns we have held those providers to account and have been clear where improvements must be made. We expect providers to deliver on their commitment to provide safe, high-quality and compassionate care and we will do everything within our powers to ensure this happens."

SME Business Loans in Under 12 Minutes

Ultimate Finance, part of the Tavistock Group, a global private investment organisation, has launched what is believes is the UK’s fastest business loan.

Their new Cash Advance loan offers a fast, flexible solution to cover short-term funding needs or take advantage of unexpected business opportunities at a rate of 1.5 percent per 30 days. 

Business owners simply input their company name online, Ultimate Finance carries out a credit check and if everything is OK they are offered a pre-approved loan of up to £50,000, with the promise that the funds will be transferred in under 12 minutes! Customers pay back their loan in a simple, single instalment within an agreed 30, 60 or 90 day period with an interest rate of 1.5 percent per 30 days.

Talking to Credit Strategy News, Ron Robson, chief executive of Ultimate Finance, said: “For many businesses, a slow loan is as useless as no loan.”

“The process can also be off putting when you are short of time. Getting a loan should be a quick and painless experience so entrepreneurs can get back to running their businesses.”

Monday, 20 March 2017

Liverpool Care Home Successfully Prosecuted by CQC

A care provider that failed in its duty to provide safe care and treatment has been ordered to pay £82,429.72 in fines and costs by Liverpool Magistrates’ Court.

The Care Quality Commission brought the prosecution against the owners of Mossley Manor Care Home, following 14 offences including:
  • Failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in residents being exposed to significant risk of avoidable harm,
  • Failure to notify the CQC of the deaths of ten residents,
  • Failure to notify the CQC of three serious incidents.

The registered providers, brothers Mr Amjad Latif and Mr Amer Latif, of Liverpool, pleaded guilty to all offences.

Jenny Ashworth, prosecuting, told the court as a result of concerns from the family of a prospective resident, the CQC inspected Mossley Manor Care Home during May and June 2015 and were appalled at what they found.

Inspectors found some residents who were unkempt, smelling strongly of urine or body odour; some had not received a bath or shower in the previous three weeks. Bedrooms were not being cleaned regularly and some contained mouldy and congealed tea and coffee cups. Carpets were dirty and dusty. Communal toilets did not contain soap, hand towels or bins. When there was no hot water staff had to boil pans of water in the kitchen to wash residents.

Initially CQC gave the Latif brothers 24 hours to submit an action plan to make urgent improvements.

When inspectors visited again a few days later to check if this was being implemented there were still serious concerns. As a result the CQC applied to Liverpool Magistrates to urgently cancel the provider’s registration and close Mossley Manor.

The court was told that the care home had failed to control risks of serious injury. There was no proper system in place for assessing the risks to the health and safety of individual people. One woman who was blind and had a history of falls was found injured on the floor of her room on three occasions but the provider failed to take action to stop it happening again. A 77-year-old man who was at risk of choking was twice taken to hospital – but there was conflicting advice for staff on how they should support him to eat and drink safely.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sexual Misconduct by University Staff Involving Students Under Investigation

The National Union of Students has joined forces with The 1752 Group to carry out new research into sexual misconduct between staff and students in UK universities. Researchers will be looking at its prevalence, impact on staff and students and university policies and procedures.

A national survey of staff and students will be conducted and qualitative research will examine how institutions currently respond to this issue. The results will form the basis of a comprehensive public report on staff sexual misconduct to be released next year.

It is hoped that the research will be used by national organisations such as the Universities UK and the Equality Challenge Unit to propose changes in the sector.

The research will also lead to a national campaign, led by NUS’ Women’s Campaign and Women’s Officer Hareem Ghani in partnership with The 1752 Group. The campaign will be shaped by the issues coming out of the research as well as consultations with students, and will aim to shine a light on staff-student sexual misconduct and illustrate why universities need adequate policies, procedures and support for students who experience sexual misconduct from university staff.

Dr Anna Bull, spokesperson for The 1752 Group and lecturer at The University of Portsmouth, said “Sexual misconduct by university staff highlights the difference in power between students and staff. When university staff engage in sexual behaviours towards students, there is often a high cost for students.

Despite this, problems around sexual misconduct by staff have been silenced for too long, and this is evident in the lack of research in this area. One of the central functions of universities is to research – and yet they have failed to carry out research into what is going on in their own back yard. The Guardian’s coverage over the last six months has revealed that universities are failing in their duty of care to students, and protecting staff over students. This research will allow us to start to understand the prevalence of sexual misconduct by university staff, as well as where the gaps are in universities’ responses.’

NUS Women’s Officer Hareem Ghani added: ‘Student-staff misconduct is all too common across Higher Education institutions in the UK. Universities are currently ill equipped to deal with instances of student-staff harassment and lack basic guidelines on the issue itself. On occasions when students do report incidents of abuse, they are often left vulnerable by university procedures.

‘A recent study in the US found that 1 in 6 women postgraduate students and 1 in 20 women undergraduate students had experienced sexual harassment from a lecturer or a university adviser. If figures in the UK are anywhere near as close to the US, we have a national crisis on our hands.

‘The NUS Women's Campaign is immensely proud to be leading on such an urgent initiative. We hope that our research alongside The 1752 Group will help map the scale of the problem and enable us to provide better support to students.’

Friday, 10 March 2017

CQC to Bring Forward the Inspection of Online Healthcare Services

The Care Quality Commission is calling on people to act with caution when using online medical consultation services. It has also brought forward its planned programme of inspections for this sector of the healthcare market.

The CQC’s decision follows the urgent inspection of two providers of digital primary care, MD Direct (which had traded through the website and HR Healthcare Ltd (through the website Where inspectors found significant clinical safety and organisational risk to patients, with widespread failings to provide safe care.

Among the concerns which were identified:
·         No (or minimal) identity checks for patients.
·         No way of identifying whether or not patients lacked capacity to consent or understand their prescribed treatment or medical advice, or if there were any safeguarding concerns (and if they were identified, minimal structures in place to handle them).
·         No systems or processes to contact the patient’s regular GP, including when medication was prescribed that required monitoring or follow-up
·         Prescribing practice that did not take account of the patient’s clinical condition or consider differential diagnoses.
·         Inadequate medical history-taking to inform appropriate prescribing.
·         No assurances that clinicians had relevant skills or qualifications for the role they were performing.
Immediately after the inspections, the CQC suspended the registration of HR Healthcare Ltd. MD Direct responded to CQC’s concerns by voluntarily cancelling its registration. Both providers have stopped providing services to patients in England ( now uses an alternative online GP provider for its prescription service).

In a joint statement, four regulatory bodies – the CQC, the General Medical Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - have reminded providers and healthcare professionals working for these services that they must provide safe and effective care, including following professional guidelines.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice at the Care Quality Commission, said: “We know that these websites can present convenient ways for people to access advice, treatment and medication.

“However some services may be putting patients at risk. We are particularly concerned that risks to patients may not always be appropriately assessed or managed when they buy medicines online.

“As with conventional GP surgeries, these online companies and pharmacies are required to provide safe, high-quality and compassionate care and must adhere to exactly the same standards. They must not cut corners.

“We will continue to work closely with the other regulatory bodies to share intelligence where we have concerns and take action where necessary. Providers and clinicians must be clear on their responsibilities to protect people who use their services.”

“We will now visit each provider, working closely in partnership with the relevant regulators, and checking that providers are following the appropriate professional guidance. We will take action to cancel or suspend the registration of providers who are putting their patients at risk."

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Cardiff University Bans Gender-Bias Phrases Including Mankind and Sportsmanship

In an effort to make students talk and write in a more inclusive manner Cardiff Metropolitan University has published a list of words which are no longer acceptable on campus. The words cannot be used by students or staff and if used, could result in disciplinary action being taken.

The list appears in the university’s revised code of practice, together with suggested alternatives (see below).

The change in policy has prompted some to complain that their free speech is being restricted. Dr Joanna Williams, an academic freedom advocate and University of Kent lecturer, told The Telegraph the ban was “unnecessary”.

“The idea that in a university people need to be dictated to in this way is really insulting to students and academics, we should be able to cope with words.

“These words have evolved over a long period of time and they don’t have sexist associations.”

A spokesperson for Cardiff Metropolitan University said “The University is committed unreservedly to the principle of academic freedom within the law.

“It is also committed to providing an environment where everyone is valued and treated with dignity and respect. These two commitments are cornerstones of academic life at the University.

“The Code of Practice on Using Inclusive Language sets out a broad approach to promoting fairness and equality through raising awareness about the effects of potentially discriminatory vocabulary.

“In particular, it includes some suggestions to support gender equality; these are consistent with other guidance (e.g., British Sociological Association’s information on Equality and Diversity).”

Terms With Suggested Alternatives

  • "Best man for the job" – Best person for the job
  • "Businessman/woman" – Businessperson, manager, executive
  • "Chairman/woman" – Chair, chairperson, convenor, head
  • "Charwoman, cleaning lady" – Cleaner
  • "Craftsman/woman" – Craftsperson, craft worker
  • "Delivery man" – Delivery clerk, courier
  • "Dear Sirs" – Dear Sir/Madam (or Madam/Sir)
  • "Fireman" – Fire-fighter
  • "Forefathers" – Ancestors, forebears
  • "Foreman/woman" – Supervisor, head juror
  • "Gentleman’s agreement" – Unwritten agreement, agreement based on trust
  • "Girls" (for adults) – Women
  • "Headmaster/mistress" – Head teacher
  • "Housewife" – Shopper, consumer, homemaker (depends on context)
  • "Layman" – Lay person
  • "Man" or "mankind" – Humanity, humankind, human race, people
  • "Man" (verb) eg man the desk – Operate, staff, work at
  • "Man in the street", "common man" – Average/ordinary/typical citizen/person – but is there such a person?
  • "Man-hour" – Work-hour, labour time
  • "Man-made" – Artificial, manufactured, synthetic
  • "Manpower" – Human resources, labour force, staff, personnel, workers, workforce
  • "Miss/Mrs" – Ms unless a specific preference has been stated – though its common not to use titles at all these days
  • "Policeman/woman" – Police Officer
  • "Right-hand man" – Chief assistant
  • "Salesman/girl/woman" – Sales assistant/agent/clerk/representative/staff/worker
  • "Spokesman/woman" – Spokesperson, representative
  • "Sportsmanship" – Fairmess, good humour, sense of fair play
  • "Steward/ess" – Airline staff, flight attendant, cabin crew
  • "Tax man" – Tax officer/inspector
  • "Waitress" – Waiter, server
  • "Woman doctor" (or feminine forms of nouns eg actress, poetess) – Doctor (actor, poet etc)
  • "Working man", "working mother/wife" – Wage-earner/taxpayer/worker
  • "Workman" – Worker/operative/trades person
  • "Workmanlike" – Efficient/proficient/skilful/thorough

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Patient Association is Critical of CQC’s Proposed New Role

The Patients Association has stated that reports to change the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) role to regulate council management of social care are “promising, but not enough” to save a system in crisis.
It is anticipated that in the Spring budget the CQC will be asked to oversee the spending of additional funds for adult social care, something the CQC itself has not commented on, but which the Patient Association has grave concerns about.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “The emerging reports of additional money for social care and a new role for the CQC are promising, but may not be enough.
The government can’t regulate its way out of a care crisis. The only solution will be a sustained reversal of the deep cuts to social care we have seen over recent years.”
Murphy was positive about the CQC’s proposed role as overseer, adding: “We know that local authorities have been largely unable to implement the Care Act fully since it came into force, and have to balance social care against their other responsibilities.

“However, talk of ‘short-term stabilisation money’ in next month’s Budget is concerning. The care sector is not merely unstable – it is in crisis, and proper funding is the only possible solution. We will be watching the chancellor’s Budget closely, and hope to hear a positive announcement securing the future of social care for people who need it throughout England.”