Equally outstanding: Equality and human rights – good practice resource | Care Quality Commission


How can a focus on equality and human rights improve the quality of care in times of financial constraint?

We often see equality and human rights as a challenge, rarely as a solution.

Yet there is growing evidence that equality and human rights for people using services and staff needs to play a central role in improving the quality of care. We are finding that some of the best providers are doing this successfully – even in times of constraint.


Why pay attention to equality and human rights?

Ethical case

 

Source: Equally outstanding: Equality and human rights – good practice resource | Care Quality Commission

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Trafford care homes forced to close as council fees do not meet running costs | Care Industry News


Shawe Lodge Nursing Home in Urmston and Shawe House Care Home in Flixton are to close in May 2018.  The care provider running them cannot be certain that it will be able to meet the care needs of residents in the future, following years of receiving fees from the local authority, Trafford Council, that do not meet operating costs.  In addition, the provider has cited a lack of support or willingness to work in partnership from the national care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Ampersand Care Ltd, the operator of the two homes, made the decision to close Shawe House after unsuccessful attempts, over the past year, to increase the fees in each home. Concerns were expressed by the provider regarding ability to sustain levels of service going forward.  With the intended closure of Shawe House the providers intended to focus their resources on the redevelopment of the larger and more appropriate environment at Shawe Lodge. At the same time, the CQC has failed to support the provider in seeking alternative solutions.  A period of six weeks for this investment was deemed inappropriate by the CQC and consequently the company has no choice but to close both homes.  The priority now is to ensure that residents at both homes are helped to find alternative placements that meet their individual care needs.

 

Source: Trafford care homes forced to close as council fees do not meet running costs | Care Industry News

Learning disability care faces disaster over back pay bill | The Guardian


Thousands of people with learning disabilities and other needs depend on support provided via a care worker sleeping overnight, but these services are under threat because of a huge back pay bill.

Social care faces a funding gap that has been described by the Care Quality Commission as pushing provision to a “tipping point”; we cannot afford  continuing uncertainty around how to fund the estimated £400m cost of back pay for sleep-in shifts.

This crisis has arisen due to lack of clarity in national minimum wage regulations and inconsistent government guidance. The result is an impending disaster for learning disability care. Services are closing and providers are handing back contracts. We are asking the government to ensure that funding is made available to cover this liability – which could stretch to up to six years of back pay.

While the government has waived financial penalties over back payments, it has not presented a solution or funding to settle the bill. Instead, it has instituted the Social Care Compliance Scheme, which encourages care providers to calculate the extent of their own liabilities and pay them to HMRC by the end of March 2019. As Matt Wort, a partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, wrote last November: “Forcing care providers to pay for the government’s own mistakes and leaving essential services at the mercy of HMRC is both unethical and nonsensical.”

 

Source: Learning disability care faces disaster over back pay bill | The Guardian

The Budget: is the government listening? : The King’s Fund


By Chris Ham

In the 40 or more years I have worked with and for the NHS, I can’t remember a time when the government of the day has been so unwilling to act on credible evidence of service and funding pressures. On three previous occasions – 1974, 1988 and 2000 – Conservative and Labour governments heeded warnings of an impending crisis, and found extra resources, often substantial, to maintain and improve care. Why then has the current government turned a deaf ear to the entreaties to provide extra funding from the National Audit Office, the Care Quality Commission, the royal medical colleges, and many others?

Against the backdrop of a decade of austerity stemming from the financial crash of 2007, four explanations suggest themselves. The first is that the government is preoccupied with Brexit and has little time to address other pressing issues such as schools’ funding, housing shortages, resources to fight crime, and growing evidence of distress in the NHS and social care. Whereas in ‘normal’ times all these issues would be receiving widespread news coverage and sustained attention in Whitehall, the outcome of the EU referendum means that Brexit is preventing this happening.

The second explanation is that economic uncertainty linked to Brexit has limited the Chancellor’s room for manoeuvre. Specifically, with progress on the Brexit negotiations proceeding slowly, and an increasing possibility of no deal being reached, the Treasury will not want to commit to public spending rises to avoid being boxed in when the outcome of the negotiations is known.

The third explanation is that the government is not persuaded that an NHS crisis is around the corner. Some ministers take an even tougher line, believing that there is considerable scope to increase NHS efficiency and that this will only happen when leaders in the NHS realise that more money will not be found. Arguments that the NHS is a bottomless pit and will use whatever funding is provided and keep on coming back for more may not be a common view among the current crop of ministers but nor is it an exceptional view.

The fourth explanation is that neither the current Prime Minister nor her Chancellor share the commitment to the NHS of their immediate predecessors. David Cameron’s gratitude to the NHS for the care given to his family is a matter of public record and George Osborne’s support was evident in the additional funding made available in the last Spending Review. Both were involved with Jeremy Hunt in the appointment of Simon Stevens as head of NHS England and all of these individuals worked to the same agenda, based on the NHS five year forward view.

The outcome of the referendum tore this alliance asunder and the consequences were evident in the well-publicised spat between Stevens and No.10 earlier this year. Since then a modus vivendi has been re-established although whether it will survive Stevens’ recent warnings about the impact of continuing financial constraints remains to be seen. What is clear is that there are significant risks for the government in ignoring these and other warnings in view of the attachment the public feels towards the NHS and evidence that services are stretched to the limits.

What might unblock the current impasse? When I worked in the Department of Health between 2000 and 2004, I learnt that public attitudes towards the NHS are tracked closely and taken seriously by ministers. Judging by the annual British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, the public remain positive about the NHS with satisfaction levels near an all-time high. The survey is, however, a lagging indicator, and recent Ipsos MORI polling reveals rising public concern about the NHS and fears that its performance will deteriorate.

If these fears materialise, the government may feel impelled to act but by that stage so much damage will have been done to services that it will be difficult to reverse the decline. Far better to intervene now and find the additional funding The King’s Fund and others have argued is necessary (£4 billion in 2018/19 as a down-payment on meeting a funding gap we estimate at £20 billion by 2022/23 based on current spending plans) thereby demonstrating that the NHS really is safe in this government’s hands.

A former Conservative Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, famously said that to govern is to choose. For Philip Hammond, the moment of choice is approaching rapidly, and on this occasion it will have far reaching implications both for the government and for the public for whom the NHS remains a treasured institution.

 

Source : The Budget: is the government listening? : The King’s Fund

Ombudsman highlights the power of complaints to improve social care : Care Industry News


By  

The impact of an individual complaint in improving care services for others is being highlighted in a new report by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s Review of Adult Social Care Complaints reveals councils and care providers implemented more than 1,300 recommendations to put things right for people in 2016/17.

As well as putting things right for an individual, the Ombudsman makes recommendations to improve services for others by changing policies and procedures, training staff, or recommending a service be provided.

Within the Ombudsman’s 1,318 recommendations, councils and care providers made nearly 180 procedural changes and committed to train staff on nearly 50 occasions.

In some cases the result of a single investigation leads to the Ombudsman looking at injustices caused to people who haven’t complained. Examples of this over the past year include one person’s complaint about the way a council charged for care leading to more than 60 people, who had been similarly affected, receiving refunds.

In another case a couple complained about their council’s blanket policy to reduce the level of care it provided, and nearly 70 other families had their care reviewed following the Ombudsman’s investigation.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“I want to highlight the power that one person speaking up can have in changing services for the better for everyone.

“Our recommendations not only put things right for individuals, but aim to help councils and care providers avoid the same problems affecting others. Where we think a fault was caused by a procedural or policy issue, we recommend ways to review and change those practices.”

The report also welcomes the increase in complaints the Ombudsman has received about independent care providers. This reflects the growing importance the sector is placing on making the complaints process more visible and informing people of their rights to come to the Ombudsman.

Mr King also encouraged those organisations – both public and independently owned – where complaints were taken on board, and analysed, at the most senior level.

He said:

“Strong leadership in the sector is essential to foster a true learning culture from complaints. Good leaders will empower their staff to respond quickly and with confidence to customer concerns, and ensure the learning from complaints is actively owned at a cabinet or board level.

“When things do go wrong, it is those organisations with such strong leadership which are best placed to gain from the outcome of our investigations.”

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said:

“In a sector being squeezed in all directions, it is heartening to see providers being praised for making the role of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman better known and take a lead in learning from complaints, particularly in addressing self-funder complaints.

“It is right and proper that the sector works with the Ombudsman to create a more robust system where there is more confidence in care providers.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:

“This report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman reinforces how important it is for people, their families and carers, to experience good, safe care that is responsive to their individual needs.

“CQC’s own State of Care report highlights the critical role strong leadership has in delivering high quality care and bringing about improvement. Being open to feedback, acting appropriately on people’s complaints and actively seeking out ways to put things right are essential elements of this.

“I encourage providers to use this report to reflect on how they listen and learn from people’s experiences, concerns and complaints. If all services did this then the quality of care would be better for everyone which is what we all want to see.”

 

Source : Ombudsman highlights the power of complaints to improve social care : Care Industry News

Care home inspections aren’t fit for purpose. Providers need support, not scrutiny | Social Care Network | The Guardian


Inconsistent assessments and inflexible appeal processes make a mockery of care quality regulations. Now even the CQC recognises the need for change

Source: Care home inspections aren’t fit for purpose. Providers need support, not scrutiny | Social Care Network | The Guardian

NHS NOTE SLIP NHS will investigate whether patients DIED because of a backlog of 22,000 undelivered letters over six years : Sun.


This is a disgrace and should never occurred.

However, and this does not excuse the deplorable situation, should not the intended recipients have queried why the written responses had not been received.

SUBSTRATUMS

The error emerged when a practice received a year-old letter.

HEALTH chiefs are investigating whether patients died or came to harm after a backlog of 22,000 letters went undelivered for up to six years.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said the follow-up notes should have been sent to GPs and other departments from 2011 to 2017.

 There was a 22,000 letter backlog over a period of six years
Alamy
There was a 22,000 letter backlog over a period of six years

But some staff were unaware they had to click two onscreen buttons to send the messages, meaning they were never dispatched.

The letters were written following hospital outpatient appointments, outlining the treatment or tests the patient had received or the follow-up care they needed.

A number of patients are since thought to have died but it is not known if this was as a result of the blunder.

Affected patients will be contacted by the trust and a review is under…

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CQC figures reveal hundreds of care homes have gone two years since last inspection | DisabledGo News and Blog


More than 300 residential care homes for younger disabled adults have not been inspected by the care watchdog for more than two years, according to official figures obtained by Disability News Service (DNS). The figures, released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in response to a freedom of information request, also show that 87 care homes in England have not had an inspection since 2014. And 10 homes have not had an inspection for between three and four years. In all, the CQC figures show that, on 1 June 2017, there were 311 care homes for adults under 65 (out of a total of 5,358 homes across England) that had not had an inspection by the regulator in the previous two years. Despite DNS alerting CQC to the figures on Monday, the commission failed to respond to requests for a comment by noon today (Thursday). The commission’s press office claimed today that its “team of analysts” were not clear how the figures were compiled, even though the press office has been told that they were

Source: CQC figures reveal hundreds of care homes have gone two years since last inspection | DisabledGo News and Blog

The NHS and social care must stop bickering over funding | Niall Dickson | Social Care Network | The Guardian


With both parts of the system under pressure, blaming each other will do nothing to help those who rely on services

Source: The NHS and social care must stop bickering over funding | Niall Dickson | Social Care Network | The Guardian