Working in social care with the elderly is likely to mean that there will be occasions when you will be required to assist the coroner. Deaths will inevitably occur whilst providing care in residential and nursing homes and in domiciliary care in circumstances where the Coroner may need to investigate.
Due to a severe shortage of NHS mental health beds in England, the NHS has been left with no option but to pay private institutions such as the Priory increased sums to provide residential rehabilitation each year.
“The NHS is paying private firms an “eye-watering” £181m a year to look after people with serious mental health problems in units often hundreds of miles from their homes.” – The Guardian.
A very enjoyable evening yesterday at the National Care Association Summer Reception hosted by Howdens Insurance brokers. We hear a lot of negativity around care services, so it was lovely to spend an evening celebrating all the incredible work that is performed in the care sector.
We heard an interesting address by Caroline Dineage, Minister of State for Health, including a mention of the long-delayed Green Paper on social care – which isn’t going to be published any time soon. The Green Paper is intended to explore the issue of how social care is funded by recipients and consider a range of proposals including a more generous means test, a cap on lifetime care charges and tac-free withdrawals from pension pots. When it is finally published, it will simply set out a range of recommendations for further consultation so any reforms to the current system will be even further down the line. During her address, the Minister also repeated her previous words of caution that, when published, the Green Paper will not solve all the challenges of social care.
What the BBC and the CQC tell us about abuse of vulnerable patients
An undercover investigation by BBC Panorama (‘Undercover Hospital Abuse Scandal’ – 22 May 2019) revealed abuse of vulnerable patients at Whorlton Hall, an independent hospital for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs/autism. Whorlton Hall was was previously part of the Castlebeck Group (which also ran Winterbourne View) and the Danshell Group. In 2017 it received a ‘Good’ rating from its regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), despite previous complaints.
A Royal Commission is currently underway in Australia to examine “Aged Care Quality and Safety”. The Commission began in October 2018, and aims to complete a final report by April 2020. It has wide reaching aims to examine the quality and safety for the elderly living in residential care as well as living at home. This will include examining whether care is substandard, whether there are any systemic failures and how best to deliver care using technology, investment in the sector/workforce and innovative models of care.
The CQC has recently made changes to the statutory notification forms used by registered providers when notifying the CQC about incidents concerning the following:
- Serious injury
- Allegations of abuse
Social care funding has been a longstanding political issue with reports repeatedly highlighting that funding has declined in recent years despite the increasing demand for care services.
Publication of the Green Paper on social care for adults is awaited and is now expected “in due course”. The Paper is intended to explore how social care is funded and a number of potential policies have been reportedly under consideration for inclusion in the Paper, including a more generous means test, an insurance and contribution model and tax-free withdrawals from pension pots.