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Tag Archive: Social Care

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

One in Three Care Homes in England Failing on Safety

More than one third of care homes in England are failing safety inspections, with falls, drug errors and lack of staff leaving vulnerable elderly people at risk.

The shocking findings come as part of a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which oversees safety standards across England’s 4,000 care and residential homes.

In 2014, the CQC introduced a tougher inspection system amid fears that social care problems were going undetected. This recent review is the first time the CQC has unveiled its findings since the system was launched, and the results paint a damning picture.

Of the 24,000 social care services operating in England, residential care homes performed the worst, with 37% failing safety inspections. Given that over 200,000 elderly people rely on residential care, such failings are wholly unacceptable and should be addressed as a matter of urgency to guarantee the safeguarding of our vulnerable elderly.

Since launching its tougher inspection regime, the CQC has taken enforcement action against 1,000 care providers, successfully prosecuting five organisations. Others have been forced to close down until safety and hygiene failings are addressed, and the commission continues to monitor and re-inspect services deemed to be falling below the expected standard.

In its review, the CQC refers to several cases of poor care reported by its inspectors, bringing to light the scale of neglect, error and abuse vulnerable elderly people are exposed to in England’s underperforming care services. These include:

  • Cases where elderly residents were left in bed all day because there weren’t enough staff to provide help and support, increasing the risk of pressure sores and ulceration.
  • The death of a man who suffered a broken neck after falling from a mobility shower chair in a West Yorkshire residential home.
  • Cases where incontinence pads weren’t changed regularly, and in some instances reused.
  • Several medication errors, including the case of an elderly resident who died after being given the wrong type of blood-clotting drug.
  • Incidents involving serious burns, including the case of Kathleen Waters, a 79-year old woman left scarred after falling into a radiator in a care home in London.

The CQC’s chief inspector, Andrea Sutcliffe, acknowledged that government cuts to social care spending remain a major issue for the sector, stating that a “long-term solution” was needed to solve the current care crisis. However, she also said that a lack of money was no excuse for such failings.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Sutcliffe said: “It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high-quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect. With demand for social care expected to rise over the next two decades, this is more worrying than ever.”

Is England’s Social Care System ‘Disintegrating’?

Elderly woman looks sad | One in three care homes failing on safety

Results from the CQC’s social care review come amid a climate of concern for the future of social care in the UK. Last week, a report emerged showing that cases of elderly abuse and neglect have risen by a third, with GPs referring more patients to social care services than ever before.

Of the poll of 800 GPs, 60% said they were unable to secure the appropriate social care for elderly patients, leaving many vulnerable people exposed to further abuse and neglect. The fact that social care services are unable to respond appropriately to abuse and neglect referrals is particularly concerning in light of the latest CQC review — suggesting that the safety of vulnerable elderly people is being put at risk due to lack of resources and a lack of steps towards improving safety standards.

With social care services at breaking point and evidence showing that neglect and abuse are rife in many care and residential homes, more must be done to safeguard the vulnerable elderly in the long and short term.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we continue to push for CCTV systems to be made mandatory in UK care homes as part of our Love Our Vulnerable Elderly campaign. We believe CCTV technology could lead to improved standards in residential and care homes, making it possible to monitor care providers and prevent future cases of abuse and neglect.

For more information on our work in helping victims of care home abuse and neglect, click here or contact our team today.

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06/07/2017 No Comments

Elderly Abuse Soars As GPs Warn Care System ‘Disintegrating’

Elderly man sitting on bench | Elderly abuse soars | Hudgell Solicitors

Cases of elderly abuse and neglect have risen by a third, with GPs warning that the UK care system is “rapidly disintegrating”.

Latest figures show that GPs made over 5,600 referrals to social services in 2015/16, an increase of 33% over a two-year period.

Worryingly, 60% of GPs who referred patients to social care services said they were unable to secure the appropriate care for those affected, and that the response from social services was wholly inadequate. It’s now believed that thousands of pensioners in care homes or their own home are suffering abuse and neglect, despite concerns from their GP.

Welfare charities involved in safeguarding the elderly have reacted angrily to the report, with Age UK labelling the findings “truly frightening”. The figures came as part of a Freedom of Information request by Pulse magazine, which is carrying out an investigation into the UK’s social care failings.

A survey of 800 GPs found that a third were unable to contact social services to make an abuse referral, whilst 42% said there was an unacceptable delay before any action was taken. Speaking to the Telegraph, Dr Ayesha Sharieff, a GP in South London, said her team often find it impossible to contact social services regarding abuse cases, and that, even after reaching the service, many social workers were found to be on stress-related leave.

Under safeguarding rules intended to protect vulnerable persons from abuse and neglect, GPs are expected to raise concerns with the relevant social care services. However, with the social care sector facing seismic spending cuts, doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the appropriate support and care for elderly patients they suspect are suffering abuse.

Despite the government injecting £1 billion into the cash-strapped social care system last year, council chiefs this week confirmed that social care cuts will continue throughout 2017. Local authorities in England are facing pressure to make £824m in healthcare savings, and social care services are expected to take the brunt of the spending cuts.

9 in 10 Care Workers Have Witnessed Care Home Abuse

elderly person in care | Elderly abuse soars

While news of the increase in abuse referrals is shocking, it’s sadly not all that surprising. Last year, a Nursing Times study revealed that nine in ten care workers have witnessed abuse and neglect in care homes, with one in four witnessing physical violence towards vulnerable elderly people. These figures are abhorrent, and highlight the deep-seated issues facing Britain’s social care system.

Over the past twelve months, cases of care home neglect and abuse have hit the headlines on several occasions, highlighting the need for an intervention into how social care services are managed and funded. And yet, despite the growing severity of the situation, news of rising abuse towards elderly people throws into sharp relief the government’s lack of action in working to address issues within the social care sector.

Through our work at Hudgell Solicitors, we deal with many cases of abuse towards elderly people, both in care homes and through home care. Just last month, we helped a family claim compensation on behalf of a 92-year old woman with dementia, who suffered a broken arm and hip after wandering from her care home without staff noticing. In light of the negligence of care workers, and the inadequate response from the management, the family received a five-figure settlement, with insurers accepting liability.

This is just one of the many cases of care home abuse and neglect we deal with on a near-daily basis. And while we recognise the financial strain social care services are under, we believe more must be done to safeguard vulnerable elderly people and prevent such traumatic cases of abuse and neglect.

The Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (LOVE) Campaign Continues

Love Our Vulnerable Elderly | Care Home Abuse | Hudgell Solicitors

Since February 2016, we’ve campaigned for CCTV systems to become compulsory in UK care homes in a bid to prevent cases of abuse and neglect towards the elderly. And our campaign continues.

In light of the soaring number of elderly abuse cases, we think it’s now more important than ever that people show their support for Love Our Vulnerable Elderly — a campaign to promote care, respect and dignity for elderly people.

In 2016, we launched a petition calling on parliament to make CCTV mandatory in all care and residential homes. The poll collected over 12,000 signatures and received recognition from The Department of Health, which said that it “does not object to the use of CCTV cameras” on a case by case basis”.

While our petition helped to raise awareness of the crucial role CCTV cameras can play in safeguarding vulnerable people, it’s clear that more work is needed to guarantee safety and comfort in care homes. We pledge to continue campaigning until all elderly people are given the respect and dignity they deserve.

To find out more about our work in helping vulnerable elderly people, visit our care home abuse page or call our team now.

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30/06/2017 No Comments

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