Tag Archives: Care UK

The liars who pretend to care in the UK

Will the liars who pretend to care be able to hold their heads high?  Meaning that if – or even when – they have fatcat liars to tell lies on their behalf, what chance does the decently honest person have against the might of their lies?  Especially if the ‘system’ in place is geared to work against the decently honest persons telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The liars are not required to speak much.  They have a pre-written script to follow, worked out by their fatcat liars-on-behalf.  Half-liars both of them = one almighty fat liar.  Both full liars = 2 almighty fat liars.  Multiply that by 3 or 4 or 5 or 6, and you have a system that stinks.  But it’s the way that care in the UK has decided to go.  Down the drain.

Will they be able to sleep at night, or even by day?  Hopefully not.  Forever and a day and a night; forever and all days and all nights.  Hopefully not.

Will the person who tells the truth be able to sleep at night, or even by day?  Probably not, but only because they may be destroyed by the lies they are not allowed to challenge.  They are now voiceless against the lies, not sure of what they are dealing with, not sure of how on earth this could have come about.

But knowing still, that they have done all they could possibly  do to present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  All single-handedly; all honestly; all openly; all transparently.

Does the truth no longer count?  Do lies count more in our sadly sickeningly careless world?

Who cares?  I do.

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The cost of care

In a funny sort of way, it’s comforting to read this BBC report about a care home provider having just opened a brand new care home providing “en-suite rooms, a hair salon, a library, landscaped gardens and a private dining  room for special occasions”.  It’s even more comforting to learn that all rooms will be equipped with sensors to alert staff if someone falls or has stopped moving.  Tht doesn’t guarantee the staff will respond, of course.

Don’t stop reading yet – because it gets better by the line.

A 12-week induction training period – including dementia care –  for all staff, and that means all staff including the handyman.  Is that 5 days a week? No, surely not.  Is that one day a week for 12 weeks?  No, doubt it.  Is that one hour per week for 12 weeks?  Sounds more likely …. but as long as that  12-week induction training period remains undefined, it may sound great but it could grate later on.  So it could be as little and as meaningless as possible.  But affordable, as far as Anchor is concerned.

The staffing ratio is to be one carer to five residents, so that customers can be cared for the way Anchor wants them to be cared for.

Residents will be able to choose what they eat and when they eat it.  So presumably they will also be able to choose when they go to bed, rather than being treated like little children and made to undress and get ready for bed at 7 pm.

This is all designed for the so-called baby boomer, property rich generation, who will be self-funding their care for the foreseeable future.  Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor and head of the English Community Care Association, says: “They have higher expectations, they have grown up in a world with all the mod cons and been to hotel rooms with all the modern facilities.

“They will demand that for themselves and also their parents who are in the system now. It is about offering a wide range of services to cater for everyone’s needs.”

So, anyone who is not in that baby boomer, property rich generation will not be so comfortable, because they won’t get a look in once the trend moves towards luxury care homes for self-funders only.  Yet, they and their relatives also have high expections of the word ‘care’ and of the world of ‘care’.

Hang on a minute!  Wait a minute!  Shouldn’t the standards of care being offered in this brand new Anchor care home, West Hall, West Byfleet, be the standards of care that every single person needing care home care should be able to expect?

Or is it only to be made available to those paying £1425 per week?  There are already many care homes charging £1000 plus per week but not providing anything like that staffing ratio of 1:5.  I know of one care home where the staffing ratio in the nursing section was one RGN plus one brand-new healthcare assistant to 28 people in need of 24/7 nursing care – neither the RGN nor the healthcare assistant knew much about the word care, though.

This all sounds great, especially when you read that  West Hall care home was only built because Anchor could largely finance it itself through its reserves.

Reserves that have already had a fair old contribution from local authority funds.  An earlier BBC report told us that Surrey County Council paid about £2.5m in 2010 to healthcare providers for beds it did not use.  The authority said then that it was “worried” by the figure paid to health firms Anchor and Care UK but was working to renegotiate the contracts.  “Under the terms of the contracts, the council pays the companies for the use of  1,000 beds. Last year, about 10% of those beds were not needed.”

How long has this been going on?

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Brilliant!

Absolutely brilliant! When I’m feeling down I just read it again and again!

MUCK

What the heck is this? I’ve been trying and failing to stop the government from privatising the National Health Service for years, and now a private healthcare company has contacted me about a job!

The email from Care UK says they are “seeking a Media Relations Executive for our Head Office based in Colchester and your skills and experience appear to be a good match.” Huh? They are offering a “competitive salary, 25 days holiday and corporate discounts.”

Here’s what I have replied:

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your unexpected email about the Media Relations Executive job with Care UK. I am very interested. Since Care UK is possibly the leading private healthcare company making inroads into the NHS, I would relish the opportunity to publicise what it does – indeed, this is precisely what I was trying to do in my previous job as information officer for Keep Our…

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Why I despise the so-called system of care for vulnerable people

I’ve been fairly controlled over recent weeks, months or even years.  I suppose I’ve been waiting and hoping for a chink of light to emerge, for a culture change to emerge, for a way forward to emerge in the so-called system of care that we have allowed to be in place.

However, I am reaching screaming point.  Hardly surprising.  When someone is destroyed because of absent systems of protection, and when it then takes almost 5 years to work your way through to a full understanding of why the so-callled system of care for vulnerable people fails to provide decent care so very often – that’s when you reach screaming point.

Time and time again, the CQC comes up with yet another report as it did today, with a report into the ‘care’ afforded to people with learning disabilities.  Or rather the lack of  care.  I’ve read it all, but there’s not much hope for real change.

Week and month after week and month, our government comes up with …… not one single plan to improve things.

Year after year, the same old same old same old gets published in the press, reported on radio, featured on TV.

Still nothing changes, so I need to scream now.  It won’t change anything – but it may just help me to scream.

[Next section of this particular blog post: Deleted temporarily pending the return of sense to the world of care.]

Therewith, I will leave this one for today.  But not for long.

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Filed under abuse, accountability, care, care homes, Care UK, dementia care, Islington, justice, liability, Local Authority, neglect, nursing, personal responsibility, professional responsibility, suffering

To care or not to care?

Imagine the 83-year old person in the following story was your own relative.

The article is here : Islington Gazette – dated 10 February 2012 – a few extracts below:

‘The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Conduct and Competence Panel is investigating five nurses’ care and treatment of an 83-year-old woman who died after spending around 10 days 
at Lennox House Nursing Home in Durham Road, Islington.

The panel heard this week that the elderly woman was taken to Accident and Emergency at Whittington Hospital in a diabetic coma on December 8, 2007. She died on December 27.

It is alleged that several serious signs of deterioration in the two days leading up to her hospital admission weren’t acted on.

These included agitation and a tendency to lay on the floor – symptoms which retired nurse Sue Bradell-Smith, who carried out the investigation of Lennox House in 2008, said were abnormal and would have made her “very worried”.

Other allegations include a failure to monitor the patient’s condition and diabetes, failing to create a pain management plan and feeding the patient fluids orally although her swallowing difficulties were known.

According to the home’s records, by the evening of December 8 she was suffering with continuous muscle spasms and had dysphasia, an inability to speak – yet it is claimed that the emergency services weren’t called straight away.

NMC’s solicitor John Lucarotti said the treatment provided fell far below what is expected of a nurse.’

How would you feel if you are now being required to understand alleged facts that are totally new to you – almost four-and-a-half years after the death of your relative?

You are now being given to understand that the care home manager was in the building all day long, right through from 8.30 am to 8 pm in the evening – but couldn’t be bothered to get off her backside to attend to one 83- year old in desperate need of care and attention.

You are now being given to understand that a nurse came to see the manager and told her that the 83-year old was not well.  Still the manager did nothing.

You are now being given to understand that nobody involved considers that the care they provided was poor.

You are now being given to understand that the manager didn’t react or even care much when the nurse told her the 83-year old was in spasm, unable to speak, unable to swallow.

Can you imagine how you would be feeling now?

 

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Panorama and Care in the UK

I wasn’t sure whether I could watch tonight’s Panorama programme – not wanting to see yet another TV programme about abuse and neglect in a care home, yet at the same time knowing that I had to watch because of my own experience of care in the UK.  If only because I too had a relative who was neglected in a care home.

Having watched the programme, I begin to understand why Care UK told me that the ‘records’ concerning the employment-status and suitability-status of 5 care workers from the Philippines working at Lennox House care home in London/Islington/Holloway had all been lost – because the laptop containing those records had been stolen.

Pull the other one!!!!  Care UK – pull the other one.  I’ve got another leg left because you’ve only stripped me of one leg so far.  You also stripped me of my life, Care UK.  You stole my life along with the other life that you stole, that of a very able 83 year old with dementia who was place into your care because you claimed to care.  But Care UK didn’t care enough to care.

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NMC hearings schedules – aka close to Care in the UK

I omitted to post this :  NMC Hearings Schedule – 6th to 17th February 2012 – at Euston House, London.

All in the best interests of Care in the UK.

More later, but click here for the charges.  Same as above link – but I wouldn’t want anyone to miss it.

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Fine words butter no parsnips in residential care

Andrew Lansley has come up with the revolutionary concept that there will be a code of conduct and minimum training standards for all care workers operating in the field of adult social care.  Or is it perhaps a slow evolution of care?

He said, allegedly: “Good local supervision offers support every day. Distant national regulation can often only react after the event.  Employers must always take responsibility and be accountable for the staff they employ. But, we recognise that more can be done to support employers in this and a code of conduct and clear minimum training standards will provide important clarity in this area.  These measures will help employers to better consider the skills profile of potential employees and ensure that patients and service users get the care and support they need.”

Somewhat late in the day, for some of us, so forgive me for shouting ABOUT TIME TOO!!

But, it’s the response from Care UK and its  Managing Director of Residential Care, Toby Siddall, that has caused me great discomfort :

 “Directors at Care UK see codes of conduct as only part of the solution.   Matters of technical competence and behaviour are already an important part of the employment contract for Care UK employees. Whether or not a member of a care home team treats people with dignity is about the leadership, training and recruitment of people with the right personal values – not about a line in a contract.”

Well, well, well!!!  Perhaps, Mr Siddall, you would care to explain just how long it is that ‘matters of technical competence and behaviour’ have been an important part of the employment contract for Care UK employees.  Since when?  Tell me the date! 

They certainly weren’t in place in Care UK and at Lennox House care home at the end of 2007 and in 2008, when Lennox House was ‘investigated’ twice within 8 months   and not allowed to accept new residents for a year while a whole host of measures enabled Care UK to  drag itself from the gutter to an acceptable standard of care provision. 

As for treating people with dignity – that was absent too when those residents were left dead in their beds for days, as the Islington Tribune reported. 

Of course, the Reports of three (or more?) investigations are all held behind closed doors – far away from daylight, so as to protect the best interests of Care UK.  The best interests of the Leadership of Care UK including Mike Parish, Chief Executive, and the then MD of Residential Care Tony Hosking, and the Managers and Deputy Managers of the whole not-fit-for-purpose care providers, of those in Islington who commissioned and allowed Lennox House to function when it was not fit for purpose, the then CSCI (now CQC) to name but a few.  Their best interests are forever preserved by the hiding of those reports.   

 If leadership can be held responsible, as Care UK now seems to understand, how come heads never roll when people die as a result of sloppy leadership and sub-standard care? 

Unless and until it is a requirement for all those Reports, and others too of similar investigations, to be published and available in the public domain so that everyone can see what went on behind closed doors – nothing will ever change.

Or could it be that too many Directorships spoil the concentration?  9  for Toby Siddall alone.  And for Michael Robert Parish …….

 

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Care UK & private equity & The Guardian

Every now and then you come across something that just takes your breath away.  Even though you may have been a Grauniad (sic!) reader since the age of 16, when you were first required to tell your English teacher which newspapers you had read each single day of the school  week.  Yes, I am old enough to know all about that – thanks to Miss Edwards!

This piece by Kirsty Scott in the Guardian has done just that.  It has rendered me breathless and speechless, almost.  Is this a journalist writing as only a journalist should be required to do – as a free spirit (*ish!!) remembering the need to earn a living and to pay the family bills, yet at the same time not selling her/his soul.  Not governed by anything other than the real free spirit of journalism.

Or is this someone acting as a paid promoter for Care UK?  Promoting private equity to boot!!!

I would dearly love to open the closed eyes of anyone who falls for this kind of promo.

Care UK killed my own relative within 10 days of arrival in a Care UK care home.

How did Care UK manage (for want of a better word) to do that?

Because Care UK had absolutely no systems in place to provide the kind of caring care that one 83 year old required – let alone the other residents, some of whom were younger and in far less need of care, and some were older in greater need of care.

I’m only talking about 3 years ago too, so don’t get the wrong impression of my anger at Kirsty Scott’s article.

Without permission, Kirsty Scott,  I bin your report.  I am not impressed.

As for the Guardian’s Social Care section  …. …. ……. it has been binned also.

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…. Care home providers & their conveniently selective memory ….

There’s spin – and there’s spin.  There’s careful choice of words – and there’s very careful choice of words.  There’s spreading the message you want people to hear – and there’s spreading the message you know that others will repeat and spread for you.

This piece by Mike Parish, Chief Executive of Care UK, appeared on Care UK’s website on 1st June 2011, the day after transmission of the BBC Panorama programme ‘Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed’ showing the torture of people living at Castlebeck’s long-stay hospital/assessment/treatment hospital Winterbourne View.   The day that Southern Cross was sinking further into the pits.  Parish expresses his disappointment and frustration “at the recent unfavourable media coverage of the care sector”.

The same article has appeared elsewhere  since then – spreading the message, just as Parish intended it to be spread.

Parish says “It’s undeniable that the news relating to Southern Cross’ financial difficulties and the disgraceful events at a Castlebeck home are deeply distressing.  However, these are not at all typical of care providers whether public, private or charitable, who generally provide outstanding quality of care.”  All care homes should always provide outstanding care – not just ‘generally’.

He goes on “We are entrusted wtih the ultimate responsibility of caring for vulnerable people ….”   It is indeed a matter of life and death.  Or does Parish mean the moral responsibility, for which of course there would need to be a sense of morality present in each and every employee of Care UK, including those workers being paid less-than-the-minimum-wage, not even a living wage by Care UK.  Are they also required to demonstrate their sense of moral responsibility?

“….. Investing in the skills of our staff and in our quality controls makes a difference to our customers and to our staff.”  It’s good to know that quality controls might be emerging in Care UK.

“…. Care UK’s quality ratings, as assessed independently by the Care Quality Commission, places it at the top end of the industry, with virtually all its services being rated good or excellent.”  I’m not sure why Mr Parish should show such pride in the CQC, right at the time when the CQC is desperately in trouble for many reasons.  Or perhaps it suits Mr Parish that the CQC can no longer be seen as fit for purpose, starved of staff and resources, abandoning inspections, and relying on the likes of Care UK to assess itself.

“….. We’ve maintained double digit annual growth rates for over two decades ….”  Great news – but only if Parish can put his hand on his heart and swear that he has never never never (triple negative!) cut corners to save a few (million) bob, on any aspect of care in any one of his care homes, starving the staff of the training and monitoring and even basic equipment (such as capillary blood glucose monitoring strips), let alone the knowledge of how to communicate effectively with the local GP.

“…. We can only achieve this by maintaining the quality of our care and thereby the trust and confidence of our service users ….”  See triple negative above!!

Parish has a very selective memory, or is it selective memory loss?  Has he chosen to forget another BBC Panorama programme from 9th April 2009 – Britain’s Homecare Scandal – where  “After thousands of complaints and over 900 missed calls Hertfordshire Council got rid of Care UK, just 10 months after they had been awarded the contract”.   Many other contracts have also been lost by Care UK.

Has he also pressed the delete button on events at Care UK’s Lennox House in Islington, July/August 2008, and earlier too,  the care home where the then-manager was suspended and allowed to resign after the bodies of two residents were left in their beds for days?  As reported here in the Daily Mail  –  other reports are also available, such as this one from the Islington Tribune.

Or even the fact that the same Lennox House – which opened as a brand new flagship care home in the summer of 2007 – was subject to enforcement action and a massive ‘action/improvement plan’ and not allowed to accept new residents until May 2009, thanks to that wonderfully independent CSCI.   That was nothing to do with the residents’ bodies being left in their beds for days. Things were always seen to have gone very wrong in December 2007, just months after Lennox House opened.    CSCI/CQC reports available on the CQC website:

  • here in particular pages 6-8, 30-32;
  • here  in particular pages 6, 8, 13-15, 26-27;
  • here in particular pages 7-8, 13-15, 25, 27-28

In other words,  Care UK’s Lennox House was not fit for purpose when it opened and received residents.   Had it been, it would not have taken two years for it to demonstrate that it “continues to improve”, as noted by the CQC inspectors, and for it to drag itself up from a rating of  ‘adequate’.

I’ve never been enamoured of the CSCI/CQC for personal reasons and because of my family’s experience of care home care.  Their inspection reports have always taken 3 or more months to appear, rendering them even more meaningless than the toothless tick-box exercise they appear to have always been.  As some of us have had to find out, the hard way, a care home can go from ‘flagship’ to ‘wreck’ in the blink of an eye, or even from good to bad to absolutely disgraceful, to use a word from Mr Parish’s comments above.  Not that the CSCI noticed – until it had no choice but to be aware.

Mike Parish may also have chosen to forget this very recent revelation dated 6 May 2011:  ‘An elderly woman from Worcester Park, was left in severe pain from injuries caused by care home negligence while staying at Appleby House, a care home operated by Care UK, a leading independent provider of health and social care services. The company has now paid the woman’s family compensation as she has since died.’  ….. ‘

Mrs Cunningham’s daughter Janice commented: “I think this incident highlights the casual way the elderly are treated in some residential care homes. I believe Epsom General Hospital shouldn’t have discharged my mother to such a poor home.

It is terrible my mother had to endure the pain of the pressure sores.  People need to be vigilant when it comes to the care a home is providing and not believe all you are told by the homes’ employees. It pays to investigate yourself.

The above is taken from the website of Russell Jones & Walker  the firm of solicitors who represented the very best interests of Josephine Cunningham and her daughter.

There’s no smoke without fire could be a message for Mike Parish to remember.

Today’s Today programme featured a good interview with Christopher Fisher, Chairman of Southern Cross.   It’s worth a listen to hear what John Humphry’s describes as ‘semantics’, and what I’ve called above ‘very careful choice of words’.   Fisher squirms, as to be expected, accepts his full share of responsibility, still defends his ‘business model’, but can’t bring himself to say sorry for his actions over recent years.  He claims to have improved the standards of care over recent years – well, he’s also got a very conveniently selective memory, bearing in  mind that almost 30 per cent of Southern Cross’s care homes have breached minimum standards and have been served ‘improvement notices’ by the CQC.  He says that there were ‘issues in dealing’ with those standards of care, claiming to have invested heavily to improve training and support to employees.  He talks of ‘people occupying beds’.  Those people are not just occupying beds – the care homes have become their only home, where they expect to be assisted to live life to the full.   They didn’t realise they were meant to be contributing to your profit margins, whether or not you chose to sell off care homes, lease them back, and then all sell off your shares to make big profits to the tune of £millions.

For goodness sake!  The mealy-mouthed words of a weasel.

Nobody can blame all of the above on ‘unfavourable media coverage’ – not even Mike Parish.

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