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Tag Archive: Care Home Negligence

Care Chief Warns Funding Gap Risks ‘Catastrophic Failure’ within NHS

Care home resident jigsaw puzzle | Social care crisis in NHS funded care homes

UK care homes are “teetering on the edge” and are at risk of “catastrophic failure” according to Chai Patel, a businessman set to become the largest operator of private residential care homes in the country.

In the wake of savage spending cuts within the social care system, Mr Patel has warned that NHS services are now at breaking point, with funding gaps placing struggling centres under immense pressure to deliver the quality of care people expect when moving their elderly relatives into a care home.

In an interview with the Times, Mr Patel, chairman of HC-One, an independent provider of residential care homes, commented on the “chronic under-funding of social care services” within the health service, and admitted that the entire sector — including private care services — is on the brink of collapse.

Mr Patel’s comments come after it emerged that HC-One is set to acquire 120 homes from Bupa, a takeover deal which would make it the UK’s largest provider of private residential care accommodation. The businessman has predicted that six national chains, including HC-One, will emerge to dominate the social care landscape, easing financial pressure on the NHS and giving lower-income households greater choice and flexibility in the services available to them and their relatives.

Since the government cut funding to social care services, many small operators reliant on monetary support from local authorities have struggled to provide the quality care expected by care watchdogs, including the CQC. Others have been forced to close, with a reported 144 residential and nursing homes closing their doors in the past 12 months alone, at the loss of 2,000 vital bed spaces.

Earlier this month, it emerged that 70,000 new care home places will be needed in the next 10 years, with an ageing population requiring quality care and treatment for more complex medical conditions in later life. In the current climate, experts like Mr Patel believe that capacity issues and funding gaps mean that the government will fail to reach this target, and by a considerable margin — placing the most vulnerable people in society at risk from failing services and a lack of quality care spaces.

At present, the care home system is hugely fragmented. While there are around 22,000 care homes in the UK, only 1,000 of these are operated by the top five private companies. This means that around 220,000 elderly people rely on services which are funded by local authorities; services at risk from bankruptcy and the inability to provide reliable patient care.

Businessmen like Mr Patel believe that private care companies may provide the answer to the current care crisis, helping to ease the social care burden on the NHS while ensuring that every elderly person gets access to affordable and quality care.

He said: “Demographics are showing in the next ten years there is need for almost 70,000 beds and this is not happening. When local authorities are trying to work alongside social care providers you can see the challenge of trying to integrate these services. I think larger operators can bridge this gap.”

Are private firms the answer to the care home crisis?

Nursing home resident Experts warn of imminent catastrophic failures in NHS social care

As HC-One looks set to become the UK’s largest provider of independent care and residential home places, questions are being asked about the role private firms could play in solving the current funding crisis, which has plagued the social care sector for more than a decade.

Businessmen like Mr Patel believe that the social care sector needs investment from private companies if it’s to stay afloat under the mounting pressure of spending cuts and capacity shortages. Increased investment from the top five independent care providers will mean that services struggling to cope under local authority funding will be given a much-needed cash injection, while elderly people will also have a greater choice of services available to them.

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, agrees, welcoming the potential deal between HC-One and Bupa. He said: “Private providers are painted to be only concerned with profiteering from older people when, in my personal experience, this could not be further from the truth. It is the private sector that is plugging the gaps for the state.

“The real scandal in social care is the abject failure of successive governments, across all political parties, to invest properly in social care over many decades.”

While HC-One’s Bupa takeover bid is yet to be finalised, it’s hoped that the acquisition could prove a positive step towards increased investment in the crippled care sector. With the NHS in turmoil and the government promising, but so far not delivering, on its pledge to plug the care spending gap, we’re interested to see the impact increased private investment could have in solving the ongoing care crisis.

For more of the latest news and updates on the care crisis, take a look at our dedicated care home abuse and negligence newsfeed. Or, to find out more about our work in helping to support the victims of care home abuse, click here or call our team today.

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23/08/2017 No Comments

70,000 Vulnerable People at Risk as 2,000 Care Homes Reported as Substandard

Elderly man in care home | Elderly people at risk from care home abuse and neglect

Four in ten care homes are failing inspections, a new report has revealed, with over 2,000 residential and nursing homes across the country deemed inadequate or in need of improvement.

The investigation, which was carried out by the Daily Mail, collated recent inspection data for 5,361 care homes in England, and found that over 2,000 were failing in areas like safety and hygiene. This means that around 70,000 vulnerable elderly people are currently at risk from substandard care and poor safety and hygiene standards, with residents facing filthy accommodation, inadequate healthcare provision, and unacceptably long waits for food, drink and toilet breaks.

Theresa May Calls for ‘Overhaul’ of Social Care Services

So damning is the Mail’s report that Prime Minister Theresa May has intervened, labelling the care failings ‘unacceptable’ and calling for a complete overhaul of the social care system. A spokesperson for the PM has since said that extra funding will be provided to improve care home standards, though it’s not yet clear how much the government plans to inject into the struggling sector.

Mrs May said: “We are providing extra funding into social care and we want to make sure that people are able to live in good standard homes. Any reports of abuse in care homes or conditions which are not acceptable are worrying. That is why we have put in place a robust inspection regime.”

The report comes in the wake of a string of similar investigations into the state of social housing for elderly people, including the CQC’s comprehensive care home report, which revealed that one in three care homes in England is failing on safety.

But while the CQC based its findings on care home investigations dating back to 2014, the Mail’s report lists current care home ratings — arguably making the figures more troubling. English care homes are given one of four ratings by the CQC: outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate. So far this year, 2,000 of the 5,361 investigated by the Mail have received the worst two ratings, with only 86 receiving the highest rating of outstanding.

Commenting on the Mail’s findings, Andrew Percy of the health select committee said: “We are a number of years on from when some of the appalling abuses in care homes were first highlighted. The country has not got to grips with how we care for our increasingly ageing population — which is deeply concerning.”

Mr Percy’s concerns echo those of Imelda Richmond, national director of Healthwatch England, who identified a “worrying culture of apathy” across the social care sector. Ms Richmond’s comments came after an independent Healthwatch investigation revealed that neglect is leaving elderly people facing filthy conditions in some UK care homes — further bolstering the need for tighter regulation and increased investment in social care.

The UK Care Crisis in Numbers

Following a wave of recent reports into the state of UK care homes, stories of abuse and neglect of the elderly are now hitting the headlines on a disturbingly regular basis. But with so many reports offering different statistics and figures, it can be difficult to appreciate the scale of the problems facing the UK’s social care sector.

With this in mind, here we list the top line figures which best illustrate the UK care home crisis:

  • 5% of 14,900 care homes failed safety inspections between 2014-17 (CQC)
  • 38% of 5,361 care homes inspected this year declared inadequate or in need of improvement (Daily Mail investigation)
  • 1,605 civil enforcement actions have been brought by the CQC in the past two years, but only five have led to successful prosecutions of failing adult care services (CQC)
  • 5,600 reports of elderly abuse were logged by GPs in 2015/16, an increase of 33% over a two-year period
  • 9 in 10 care workers have witnessed abuse or neglect in care homes, with one in four witnessing physical violence towards an elderly resident (Nursing Times)

Government Promises Extra Funding— But Will it Deliver?

With the Prime Minister promising additional funding for cash-strapped care homes, could this announcement mark the beginning of the end for the UK’s care home crisis? Or is the government’s funding pledge too little too late for essential care services pushed to the breadline by years of harmful austerity?

While a much-needed cash injection would certainly help struggling nursing and residential homes cover the cost of vital extra resources, it may not go far enough in solving the “culture of apathy” issue recognised by Imelda Richmond. Getting the basics right on social care shouldn’t cost the earth, and a lack of funding is no excuse for the abhorrent reports of elderly abuse and neglect which have surfaced over the past couple of years.

What is needed, beyond simple monetary relief, is an assessment of how care homes safeguard the basic rights and health of vulnerable elderly residents, to put an end to the unacceptable cases of abuse and neglect which have been allowed to continue for far too long in care homes up and down the country.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we have long campaigned for greater safeguarding measures for vulnerable elderly people, including the introduction of mandatory CCTV systems in all UK care homes. Though controversial, we believe such measures are necessary in ending the scourge of neglect and abuse cases which continue to blight our social care system.

If you or a loved one has been affected by care home abuse or neglect, our experienced solicitors can offer free, no obligation advice on making a no win no fee compensation claim. To find out more, visit our care home abuse page or contact our team today.

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15/08/2017 No Comments

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