Tag Archives: Community Care

Neglect and abuse in care in the UK in November 2012

Some people try to convince me that cases of neglect and abuse of vulnerable people in care in the UK are extremely rare.  Some people also try to convince me that those who talk of such cases are scaremongering.

Below is just a selection of cases of neglect and abuse of vulnerable people in care in the UK over the month of November 2012.  It is a selection and by no means all of the cases I came across.  The dates are the publication dates.

5 November 2012:   Britain’s biggest care home owners ‘have £5 billion debts’.      Read more here.

5 November 2012: Nottingham – Police are investigating an elderly care home in Nottingham which closed after  having its council contract suspended.  Read more here.

6 November 2012: Suffolk – The great care home giveaway: Tory council calls in the private sector.   Suffolk County Council has agreed a multimillion pound deal with the private sector to take over its care homes amid fresh calls for financial regulation to protect elderly residents and the taxpayer.

The council’s 16 aging homes will be closed by 2015 and 10 new homes (and wellbeing centres) built – giving the county 104 extra beds to help meet growing demand.

The first five will be built and owned by Schroders UK Property Fund – who will lease the homes back to Care UK. The land is being given to Schroders for free by the council with unrestricted freeholds.   Read more here.

9 November 2012: Dementia patient found wandering in the freezing night ten miles from home after carer ‘forgot’ about him – Read more here.

9 November 2012: – Devon -Council breached equality duty in setting care home fees.  Authority to review care home fees after High Court found it failed to consider impact of possible home closures on vulnerable residents.  Read more here.

19 November 2012: Hayling Island – three women arrested as police investigate claims of neglect at a care home – Read more here.

19 November 2012: Olney, Northamptonshire – two women charged in connection with neglect at a residential home – Read more here.

19 November 2012: Luton – woman denies neglect after an elderly woman with dementia was left on a bus in Luton overnight – Read more here.

19 November 2012: St Saviour, Jersey – A care home nurse threatened to teach a  colleague a lesson by beating her up ‘in the African way’ during an aggressive  outburst, a tribunal heard. Read more here.

20 November 2012: Buckinghamshire – two care home workers charged with neglecting patients at care home for dementia sufferers – each charged with 19 counts  of wilfully neglecting a person without capacity between August 18 and 19, 2011 – Read more here.

23 November 2012: Archway, London – Whittington Hospital – two senior nurses ignored plight of epileptic 17 year old who suffered 5 epileptic fits in the space of 24 hours and died four days later – Read more here.

26 November 2012: Swindon, Wiltshire – Selena House Care Home, Stratton St Margaret to close in December “over safety fears” – The CQC report said the home had failed to meet 11 government standards,  including care and welfare, dignity, cleanliness and infection control. Read more here.

27 November 2012: Goole, Yorkshire – Three Women Arrested after elderly woman is injured ‘while unattended’, allegedly, in care home . Read more here.

27 November 2012: Chingford, Essex – Chingford rehab unit so understaffed patients were left to wet the bed, watchdog finds.  Vulnerable patients’ dignity was compromised by poorly trained staff at a rehab unit where dementia was mistaken for a learning difficulty, according to a damning watchdog report. Read more here.

27 November 2012: Cambridgeshire – Abacus Care Cambridgeshire  has been issued with a formal warning by a health watchdog after failing to meet standards for a second time. Read more here.

27 November 2012: Great Wyrley, Staffs –  care home worker stole cash and personal belongings from residents and staff to help fund her drug habit.  Read more here.

28 November 2012: What can be done to ensure care home residents get quality healthcare? Reports suggest the availability of doctors in care homes has fallen short of what residents are entitled to. So what can be done to ensure these patients get the care they deserve?  Read more here.

30 November 2012: Maltby, Sth Yorks – Melton Court care home residents face pre-Christmas move after it emerged the home’s owner is in prison serving a sentence for causing grievous bodily harm.  Read more here.

And finally, as December 2012 arrives we find:

1 December 2012: Care home regulation not fit for purpose, says care minister Norman LambRead more here.

Better late than never, I guess, but what took you so long to work that one out?

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Joined up care?

It’s nigh on impossible to keep up with the volume of reports produced about care, so blogs by others are a valuable source of information, because they’ve often done the homework – especially if they’re salaried professionals working in the care industry in some form or other.   I read blogs and articles in the press by doctors, social workers, mental health professionals, carers, friends and families.  Alongside a few by politicians – seldom  rewarding.

Community Care is on my little list, and that’s how I came by this article by Mithran Samuel about a ‘Surveillance’ system to identify failing care providers.  ‘Efforts to identify and tackle failing care providers are being stepped up through the creation of “surveillance” groups in which commissioners and monitoring bodies will share intelligence on organisations.’ 

My first thoughts, on reading the headline, turned to some kind of CCTV system being in place, in each and every care providing facility, be it hospital or care home.  At each and every meeting between ‘human beings’ and those ‘professionals’ who are charged already with providing good quality care.  At each and every meeting when the provision of care has seen to have failed.  Not a bad first thought, but CCTV would only be valuable if those on the receiving end of sub-standard care were allowed access to it too.

My next reaction was one of amazement that commissioners and monitoring bodies aren’t already ‘sharing intelligence’ on what could be failing care providers.  You mean they’re not sharing intelligence?   Shows how naive you can be when you don’t work in the care industry.

So I had to read Quality in the new health system – Maintaining and improving quality from April 2013 by the National Quality Board.  (A draft report at present)  The report focuses on the health system, but with a view that the model described will also be central to the provision of social care, whenever/if ever our caring coalition government gets round to doing a full-time job and speeding along the reforms and changes to the social care system.  So my comments are, in the main, about the way a similar model might impact on care in general.  I don’t really mind whether it’s called ‘health care’ or ‘social care’ – I just mind about ‘care’.

  • We are clear in this report that quality is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Successful implementation will depend on the ethos, values and actions of people working across the system and at every level.

Good starting point.  I read  about ‘outcomes’  and ‘The domains of the NHS Outcomes Framework’:

  1. Preventing people from dying prematurely
  2. Enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
  3. Helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
  4. Ensuring people have a positive experience of care
  5. Treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm

Can’t argue with that at all.  That’s what care should be all about, but I would have thought that was fairly obvious from the start.

I take issue with the report where it says  ‘Like many other bodies, CQC drives improvement in the quality of health and social care services’.  The driving seat of improvement has been empty for far too long, and the CQC, local authorities, social services, care providers, care managers and care workers have reneged on that responsibility.  The focus has all been on money.  Nobody has bothered to focus on the quality of care, or if they have, they haven’t voiced their concerns with sufficient vigour.

In theory – and on paper – these bodies and individuals, including social workers, nurses and other care professionals have been charged with all the 5 points listed above, according to their professional codes of conduct handed down by their individual regulators.   If each and every one of them had opened their eyes, their ears and their mouths many of the tragedies of care would not have happened.  But they all failed.

  • Across the system, we must be united in our responsibilities for preventing serious failure and for taking action to put it right where it does occur.

But, hang on a minute,  Joe and Josephine  Public always thought you were united in such responsibilities.  There are so many of us mere humans out here who, through no fault of our own, have had to bang our heads against the slammed doors of ‘this body’ and ‘that body’ with each in turn telling us to ‘go elsewhere’ but without providing any support or guidance, or even care and consideration.  What fools we were.  Nobody listened to us – so will a Report from the NQB open their ears, eyes and hearts?

  • The quality of care provided by an organisation is dependent on the people it employs.
    How on earth can care providers justify paying little more than the minimum wage to staff who are too afraid to speak out?
  • Where health and care professionals do have concerns about the quality of care in their employer organisation, or any provider organisation with which they have contact, they should raise these with the leaders in their team, or the clinical leaders in their organisation. If they feel they cannot raise concerns with a particular individual, or where they have raised concerns which have not been acted upon, individuals should follow their organisation’s published whistleblowing procedures.
    Will the arrival of a new quango-equivalent make that a reality?  It should be happening already – so will anything change?
  • The provider leadership should recognise that quality is equally as important as stewardship of public resources.
    Quality is more important than anything and certainly more important than financial considerations.
  • The provider leadership should be able to raise concerns it may have with its commissioners, and the commissioners should work with the provider to address any quality problems as far as possible.
    True – it should be happening already, but it isn’t.  It must happen.
  • Local Authorities are responsible for commissioning social care services, managing the contracts they hold with providers of care services.
    Are they not aware of the implications of that responsibility?
  • Responsibility for the quality of care being provided should be recognised by the governance within the local authority. The local authority commissioners should use their interactions with providers to seek to drive continuous improvement as well as to identify any actual or potential quality problems or failings.
    Why have they not been doing so?
  • Local Authorities also have a particular role to play in safeguarding adults in vulnerable circumstances who are abused or at risk of abuse. Information about abuse or potential abuse should be shared with local authority safeguarding teams and, depending on the circumstances, may also require involvement of the police.
    It does not need a new ‘architecture’ for that to happen.  It should have been happening for years now.  They all failed.
  • Local Authorities will be part of the new local Quality Surveillance Groups … where they should share information and intelligence. If they have concerns about whether providers are meeting the ‘essential standards of quality and safety’ they should raise these with the CQC and with any other parts of the system with an interest through that Group.
    Why not use the word ‘must’ rather than ‘should’?
  • CQC ensures that only providers who have made a legal declaration that they meet the essential standards of quality and safety and satisfy the registration process are allowed to enter the market and provide care.
    But legal action is rarely taken against those who failed to obey that legal declaration.  That must change.
  • All regulated healthcare professionals must meet the standards set by their professional regulator and are required to ensure that they stay up to date in terms of their clinical skills by participating in continuing professional development.
    Where are the checks?  Where is the system for that which should have been happening?
  • Across the health and care system, we know that there are excellent examples of where local health and care economies have built strong working relationships between their organisations, where there is an active dialogue about quality and where concerns or risks are raised promptly and dealt with collectively in a coordinated way. But this is not the picture everywhere.
  • Different parts of the health and care economy should come together to share information and intelligence about quality as part of new Quality Surveillance Groups (QSGs).
    ‘Must’ not ‘should’.
  • These QSGs will provide a forum for local health and care economies to realise the cultures and values of open and honest cooperation.
  • The creation of QSGs should not add a level of bureaucracy to the system.
  • Any statutory organisation – local, regional or national – who has concerns about the quality of care of a provider should alert other QSG members to their concerns by triggering a Risk Summit.
  • The NHSCB (NHS Commissioning Board)  will lead the establishment of QSGs so that by 1 April 2013, there  is a comprehensive network in place across the country.   (With monthly meetings.)
  • Where the concerns in question involve a potential adult safeguarding issue, the chair of the discussion must ensure that the relevant local authority safeguarding adults protocol is followed. This will help ensure that adult safeguarding processes are not compromised.
    At last a ‘must’!  That should have been happening – will anything really change?
  • However, they (i.e. the mechanisms described to encourage different parts of the system to work together) do not provide a silver bullet. Maintaining quality requires commitment, endorsement and leadership from every part of the system, from national to local levels. It must be seen as the business as usual of organisations individually and collectively.
    Another ‘must’ – more please!
  • The model we describe will not take away the risk of there being another serious failure in the NHS.

 Then, after 53 pages, comes:

  • The patient comes first – not the needs of any organisation.
  • Quality is everybody’s business.
  • If we have concerns we speak out and raise questions without hesitation.
  • We listen in a systematic way to what our patients and our staff tell us about the quality of care.
  • If concerns are raised, we listen and ‘go and look’.

 There’s talk of ‘rewards’ for those providing the standard of care we all expect, with a statement I don’t quite see the need for: ‘payments and incentives must be structured to encourage quality improvement’.  How about serious penalties for those who fail to provide the required standard, rather than financial rewards for those who are doing what they’re already being paid to provide?

There’s much talk of being ‘open and honest’, and I agree wholeheartedly with that as a major innovation that needs to be introduced to  the culture of care.   It is immoral for anything other than open and honest communication from a care professional.

It is the arrogance of the so-called professionals that has taken more than my breath away over the last 7 years,  since I first had to involve myself on behalf of a vulnerable person in need of care.  The arrogance of every single part of the system that I had to deal with.   The arrogance that made them all untouchable.   It protected them all along the way, as they delivered shabby shoddy sub-standard care, knowingly and complicitly.

The social workers, the multidisciplinary team, the heads of mental healthcare of older people team, the NHS assessment unit, the commissioning department, the local authority, the CSCI/CQC, the Adult Protection Unit and so on.  Arrogant, challenged in the optical department, challenged in the hearing department, challenged in the protection department.   They were all challenged as caring human beings.

And finally,

This report is meant as a guide to support the system in exercising judgement and applying common sense to what will be complex situations, where the impact of the decisions made will be profound for individuals, families and communities.

That’s the bit I like most – the application of common sense would prevent many situations becoming complex.  It’s not rocket science.  A modicum of common sense would suffice in many cases.

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A feisty band and Chai Patel and Southern Cross

Two appearances -in-word by Chai Patel over the last few days – and both seem fairly innocuous at first reading. 

A piece from Community Care on Friday 29 July 2011 begins:

Operators taking over Southern Cross homes face a long battle to earn the trust of residents and relatives, ex-Priory Group boss Dr Chai Patel has admitted as he prepares to take over one-third of the homes.

Patel told Community Care the firm he will head up to run the homes faces a “long journey” as “reputations are breached in a second and take years to build up”.

He’s referring to the reputation of Southern Cross there.  Perhaps he should remember his own reputation and the way it was sullied by the experiences of residents of Lynde House care home.

An article in the Express on Sunday 31 July 2011 refers back to the year 2000/1 when residents of Lynde House  care home were neglected and mistreated, when Lynde House was owned by Westminster Healthcare, with ….. Chai Patel as its then Chief Executive.  Patel sold Westminster Healthcare soon after the scandal emerged.  Patel was apparently interviewed on Friday 29 July 2011 and  the former government adviser on elderly care, vowed that he would protect pensioners from the kind of ­maltreatment suffered at Lynde House, in Twickenham, Middlesex.

The Express quotes him as saying “The residents felt they could get recourse only by going public which has tarnished my reputation… I have never tolerated poor care and never would ­tolerate poor care.” 

You can’t get away with that one, Chai Patel – otherwise people may be hoodwinked or even deceived by such protest!

Did Patel never bother to read the Report of the Lynde House investigation, dated May 2002 and published on 2 August 2002 – 9 years ago almost to the day? 

If the Chief Executive shoulders no ultimate responsibility for the standards of care provided – or rather the sub-standard care a.k.a. neglect provided – the Chief Executive should not share excessively in the profits made either. 

Let’s look also at 1 October 2002, when the London Evening Standard printed a neat summary of Patel’s career path.  Including these words from Vince Cable talking about the feisty woman who had the courage to stand up to Chai Patel: 

“Without Gillian Ward and her brave group of relatives, none of this would have come to light,” says MP Vincent Cable. “They have done us a major public service. The climate of denial they faced was ferocious.”  “When I first raised the issue with Chai Patel, he totally poohpoohed it. All he had to do was to care enough to acknowledge their complaints, deal with them and apologise. But he chose to deny it and that led to it becoming a national public campaign.” 

I do hope that the residents and relatives of all current Southern Cross care homes don’t have to face the same kind of ferocious denial. I also hope that in his new role, Chai Patel will accept responsibility for the care provided in his name and under his banner.

Where does the buck stop?  If it doesn’t stop with the Chief Executive of a private care provider, then the buck will be in perpetual motion. 

And here’s Gillian Ward again – also known as Deddie Davies.  Still supporting those in care. 

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Care home secrecy slammed

It is with some considerable personal pleasure that I have just read  in the East Anglian Daily Times that POLITICIANS have hit out over secrecy surrounding an Essex care home which was shut down amid abuse allegations.

If any politicians would like to ‘hit out’ over the secrecy surrounding Lennox House care home in Islington, they only have to ask me, and I will provide as much detail as has so far been available in the public domain – and I can provide far far more than has ever been made available in the public domain, if that’s what would help you, Politicians, to achieve honest, decent, caring systems of care for our honest, decent, caring vulnerable elderly citizens.  The rest is still shrouded in secrecy.

They have slammed a decision to bar the public from a meeting next week where lessons learned from the saga at Greenways Care Home, Colchester, will be discussed.

Well, in Islington family were barred from meetings too – let alone the public.

Why does this all interest me enormously?  Because my own relative was the person who suffered neglect, which is a form of abuse, in that Islington care home, Lennox House.  Nobody from our family was allowed to attend any one of the ‘meetings’ held.  We have never been allowed to see the full report either.

But the care home management, the care home provider, the healthcare professionals, the social care professionals were all invited to attend those meetings.  The care home management, the care home provider, the healthcare professionals and the social care professionals were all provided with a copy of the full report of the investigation carried out into the neglect of my relative.  So that they could all comment on  it and have any ‘amendments/alterations’ made before it was finalised.  That is one aspect of the whole mess that I will never understand.

The family of the person who was the vicitim of abuse in care, neglect in care,  was not allowed that same privilege.  No ability to attend meetings; no ability to contribute significantly to the final report; no ability to inisist on changes to that final report – other than simple factual inaccuracies, that is.

Our family member was no longer in a position to ask to attend meetings, to see the report before it was finalised – she died within 3 weeks of suffering that abuse/neglect in care.

The Safeguarding Adults team ‘chose not to inform the police’; they chose not to inform the Coroner either; they chose not to inform family that they had the right to ask the Coroner to conduct an inquest.

And yet, the whole situation was considered sufficiently serious for the then CSCI  to impose ‘enforcement action’ and to refuse new admissions for a year to Lennox House.  The CSCI inspection reports are all still available on the CQC website.

The perpetrators  are the ones to have been protected.  The care home provider that couldn’t provide care has been protected.

What was that policy called?  I remember –


No secrets: guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse

Our relative wasn’t protected.  She was dead before anybody thought about massive ‘action plans’ and ‘enforcement action’, all of which the Care Provider willingly complied with of course, and all of which will have been of benefit to the other residents and future residents.  Too late for our relative.

My thanks to Vern Pitt at  Community Care for bringing to my attention the fact that politicians seem to have opened their eyes.  Long may they stay open.

Open up please also the hearings/meetings/serious  case reviews/adult protection procedures to public scrutiny.  Otherwise we will never believe that you really care.  And then we too can see whether lessons have been learned.


Filed under abuse, care, Care UK, dementia care, liability, Local Authority, neglect

Intermittent connections in the world of dementia and care

There is what is known as a ‘major Service Outage’ in my part of the UK, and many of us are struggling with creepingly slow broadband connections – all are up the creek without a paddle for the foreseeable future, and no amount of troubleshooting has so far been able to sort us all out.  I’m told I have an intermittent connection, but no boffin has so far been able to create the constant connection that I need.  And as those strangely disconnected moments turned into hours, then days and now weeks, we have all been driven to distraction.  So, many micro filters have been changed, routers powered down and powered up, settings have all been checked, lines tested … and so on.  The systems have all had a thorough MOT.

But the brain behind the broadband can’t send the right signals to the right place at the right time for a meaningful, reliable and constant connection to be established.

Just like dementia.

When the brain’s working properly all those little electrical impulses work their way along the nerves to and from parts of your body and parts of your brain.  The neurotransmitters help those signals to jump across the gaps between the nerve cells.  And language, movement, problem solving and memory all work according to plan, according to the blueprint.  The connections remain constant.

But, with Alzheimer’s disease, the brain shrinks as the number of nerve cells in the brain reduces.  You can’t grow new nerve cells, so as more and more cells die away, the problems of dementia increase.  The neurotransmitters are reduced too so they can’t send the same signals.  The intermittent connections begin to surface.

The brain needs a good supply of blood – via blood vessels – for it to function, but if the vascular system in the brain becomes damaged, because of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems perhaps, or a stroke, the blood can’t reach the brain cells, so they eventually die.  And then along comes Vascular Dementia to wreak havoc.  More intermittent connections surface.

It’s 100 years since Alois Alzheimer first described Alzheimer’s.  Very little of Alzheimer’s teachings had to be revised and, though 100 years older today, they have not been corrected or amended but only confirmed.  Alois Alzheimer was apparently an optimist.

Dementia is the word we use to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is damaged by disease, the most common being Alzheimer’s Disease.  Vascular Dementia is the second most common form of dementia.

Dementia is degenerative, and the speed of decline varies. A person will become repetitive both in speech and movement, will look in a mirror and fail to recognise their own image, will also fail to recognise their own family and friends, will lose the ability to carry out everyday tasks (the so-called activities of daily living or ADLs), will often become verbally and/or physically aggressive, will become agitated, may suffer hallucinations and delusions, will gradually suffer severe memory loss, will often lose their speech entirely and in the latter stages they will lose the ability to swallow, the ability to move, the ability to breathe.

Dementia leads to death.  There is no cure.

For some unexplained reason, Dementia is  seen at present as a problem requiring social care rather than health care.  And that is where the intermittent connections in the world of dementia and care really begin to show themselves.

Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister and Liberal Democrat MP, had a crack at local authorities for jumping the gun and making cuts in care support ahead of next month’s public spending review.  He also told Community Care that “Every local authority has a responsibility to do its best to make efficiencies and protect the frontline – there are better ways they can do this than salami-slicing and slash and burn.”    I can only agree with him when it comes to salami-slicing – if only because I can think of a few salamis that I’d like to slice, all currently involved in the care industry and in the dementia care industry.

Mr Burstow is also upset by the low uptake of personal budgets.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers published the results of its survey of 800 carers, who care unpaid for a sick and disabled family member, and found that over half (53%) of all carers who work earn less than £10,000 a year, with three-fifths (60%) having to spend all of their savings to support the person they care for. 89% say that they are financially worse off as a result of caring and, consequently, almost two-fifths (39%) fear they will lose their home.  Broke and broken: Carers battle poverty and depression.

Read these Quotes from Carers – the intermittent connections in the world of care are clear to see.

Today, Stephen Dorrell – the new Chairman of the House of Commons health committee – has urged politicians to face up to the way in which vulnerable elderly people are being forced to pay for medical care, health care, all because of the redrawing of the boundaries between health care and social care, without proper debate or scrutiny.

The debate surrounding NHS Continuing Healthcare – which is healthcare fully funded by the NHS, in any ‘setting’ so in hospital, in a care home, in one’s own home, in a caravan or even on a double-decker bus (privately owned, of course!) – is something that most people never need to come into close contact with, unless and until they or their relatives are old, and/or with health needs.  And especially, unless and until they develop dementia.  Then, for some strange reason, the connections of the professionals suddenly resemble our broadband problems: fully funded, but fully intermittent.

Many people are denied the human right to return from hospital to their home, by healthcare professionals and by social services.  They’re told they need ‘nursing care’ 24/7 in a care home.  They are then offered by the NHS £100 towards the cost of that nursing care, the Nursing Care Contribution.  But they are then also forced to pay £3500 per month or more for residential care, often shabby and sordid residential care.

All because they have health needs that are such that they can no longer live an independent life.  Residential care is the choice of last resort for so many people, because they can no longer be cared for at home.  And that applies especially to those with dementia.

They are often forced to sell their own homes – or rather their family is forced to sell the home, because by this time, the person needing 24/7 care is in no position to do so themselves – to pay the extraordinary costs of residential care.  Extraordinary costs, because nobody is ever given a breakdown of that cost, but it’s not normally a fair charge.  The quality of care provided is rubbish in many care homes, with enormously inflated charges, enormously inflated pre-admission promises of care, enormously low-paid workers, mostly immigrant workers, enormously low standards of training, especially dementia training.  But enormous profits for the care home industry.  (see the CQC announcement today today about some of the sordid care homes and agencies it has forced to close.  Many  other sordid care homes and agencies have survived the CQC axe – but only just, and only thanks to some very closely woven and constant connections.  There’s little chance of their connections becoming intermittent.)

The hoops and hurdles that have to be faced by those who challenge the decision-making process (also known as the National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare) are so complex and complicated that the so-called professionals can’t even work their way through them all.  And then the family members who find the inner strength to challenge it all are forced to spend years, and years and years being humiliated by the Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Social Services (SS).  It comes to resemble a game without rules, like Snakes & Ladders with venom-filled snakes hissing and spitting at the poor souls who try to climb the rungless ladders.

Except that there are rules.  There are legally binding rules that should not be broken.  But they are being wilfully broken, by the NHS, the PCTs, and the SS.  Aided and abetted by governments, one after the other.  They are all in it together, to paraphrase David Cameron.

“We are clear about what we must do … in a way that protects the poorest and the most vulnerable in our society, in a way that unites our country rather than divides it, and in a way that demonstrates that we are all in this together. Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on the economy, Milton Keynes, 7 June 2010,

Dementia is an extraordinary disorder of the brain, a disease of the brain, a most devastating illness, for which there is no cure.  People die of and with dementia.  But dementia is not being acknowledged as a disease, an illness, a destructive force, removing from a previously capable and competent human being each and every single quality that defines a human being.

We as a civilised country ought by now to have found a way to create the constant, reliable connection between needs and service provision.  Dementia care still suffers from a ‘major service outage’ of a kind that paralyses those with dementia and their family members caring for and about them.

I am sick and tired of reading, hearing and watching our government, our ministers, our politicians, our healthcare professionals, our social care professionals and so on, all cry out in shock horror about the problems of caring for the elderly that we are facing, but they continue to do nothing to correct the ills of their ill-defined system.  Actions speak louder than words.  If we really are all in this together, then we should not be so lily-livered about sharing the responsibility for it together, via taxation.   All that is required is for the connection to be made, between health needs and care.  Between dementia and care.

After all, tomorrow it could be any one of us – even you – with dementia and needing care.

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