/ Health

Why is elderly care failing? Older people have human rights too

Images of person getting older

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has reported on care provided to older people in their own homes, and it doesn’t make pretty reading. Why is society allowing older people to be treated like this?

Examples emerged from EHRC’s report of people being denied basic rights, such as access to the toilet and the food in their own fridge. For those who have worked in the care sector, as I did for many years, this is sadly not altogether unexpected.

But it’s difficult to identify villains in a system that’s failing so many. Is it about care agencies and poorly-paid workers; is it about poor commissioning of care from private agencies by under-funded councils; or is it about could-do-better regulation?

Older people are human beings too

At first it seemed odd to me that this sort of inquiry came under the banner of ‘human rights’, but actually I now think it makes perfect sense.

Isn’t the real problem that – as a society – we’re prepared to let the social care system for older people bump along the bottom? It’s just about good enough, but it’s nowhere near the funding (or expectations we have) for younger people’s services.

We’ve become immune to care workers rushing in and out for 15-minute visits and driving at top speed to the next person, all because they’re not paid for their travelling time.

And our research shows that councils are increasingly rationing what they provide. In 2009 we found that 66% of councils met only critical and substantial needs. But our latest analysis for 2011-12 shows that 71% of councils are now excluding those with low or moderate needs.

Yes, there are bad home care agencies and poor commissioners, but I think the EHRC is right in bringing the debate back to the issue of treating older people like human beings.

The system is creaking at the seams

Until we admit as a society that we need to up our game on what care we give older people, we’ll never move away from a system that encourages care workers to prioritise a list of tasks, rather than thinking about what the human being in front of them really needs. Or ensure care workers are paid well so we routinely get well-trained, high calibre staff.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do think the system is creaking at the seams. The danger is that it could fall apart. And as the EHRC quite rightly showed, it is our elderly relatives bearing the brunt.

Comments
Guest
Karsam says:
24 November 2011

I think it is a disgrace and an abuse of human rights of the way the elderly are treated. Once you reach 50+ you seem to disappear and are largely ignored by the government, councils, management, and in particular by the so called ‘caring NHS/Social services’. I am astounded that doctors and nurses need to be told that they have a ‘duty of care’ towards their elderly patients. Surely if you are a part of the ??’caring profession’ it goes without saying that you have a ‘duty of care’ to all your patients no matter what age they are. It’s frightening, I’m sure most older likeminded people are now very afraid to become ill and/or incapacitated, and are especially terrified of going into a hospital or a so called care home. Personally I want to stay at home and I think I would rather die there than enter any of these places. I was always taught to respect my elders and a civilisation is judged on they care for the old and vulnerable. I think the UK government and society in general has failed miserably.

Guest
Mikhail says:
25 November 2011

I see two problems – young people don’t believe that they will get old; the government didn’t expect the life expectancy to be over 70.

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Guest

You are probably right about young people. I can remember even in my 40’s being totally disinterested in the question of getting a pension – but I was not very money-minded as I assumed the welfare state was there to take care of me (that’s what they said when they took my health and national insurance contributions).
But the government has no excuse. Statistical predictions about the increasing proportion of elderly people in the population have been around for years. One of the problems is that ‘the elderly’ have never been a united pressure group, so it was easy to ignore the facts. That plus the endemic ageism in our society.

Guest

The treatment of elderly people in a lot of homes is a total disgrace. No-one would like their own parents treated shabbily but a lot of ‘carers’ don’t give two hoots about the people they are supposed to care for. An additional problem is that a lot of these carers are from abroad and do not speak english very well which is ofcourse a huge problem for elderly frail and sometimes confused people. The same goes for hospitals, often a doctor or nurse barely speaks english which is very annoying when you are at your most vulnerable.

Guest

i do sympathize with the Elderly but as you cannot recruit enough of the local English nurses as most of them do not want to take on a physically and mentally “unpleasant” job, hence the NHS had for centuries has to go abroad to recruit foreign nurses who are lured to the promises of good pay and a attraction of a Nursing qualification. In reality, they are “Modern Day” Maids and may I say slaves because the local people are not prepared to do this most unpleasant demanding job!!!

I’m speaking from my own experiences as I’m a nurse for 38 years.

Guest
Gerald says:
31 October 2012

I have worked in Care Homes now for nearly 30 years and I have met nearly all types of people from all parts of the World and this leads me to believe that you really haven’t a clue about what you are talking about, In English Nursing Homes it is obligatory to staff 24/7 with a Qualified Nurse who must be Registered in England with the Authorities. All Nurses from abroad must be vetted by an existing Trained and Registered Nurse over a 6 Months period to ensure they are able to carry out their duties in the Care Home.
I am not aware of the regs. in the NHS but I believe many Nurses who have passed through our doors have subsequently worked in the NHS
.Please try and get out of your “Island” mentallity and understand one simple fact ie WITHOUT NURSES AND DOCTORS FROM ABROAD THE WHOLE SYSTEM IN THE NHS WOULD HAVE COLLAPSED YEARS AGO.
Perhaps the above concept is to large for small minds to understand but hey we keep on doing this thankless job of ours.

[This comment has been moderated for breaking our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

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Guest

Hello Gerald, please do not make your comments personal, and especially don’t insult other commenters. Read our commenting guidelines for more info: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines Thanks.

Guest
Gerald says:
25 June 2013

Dear Patrick,

Glad you are keeping your eye open wouldn’t want to upset people would we , even if they are demeaning and insulting to us .

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Guest

This is not my experience. My, thankfully brief, stay in a care home which I was told was very good (I was unable to check this out before as I was an emergency),was only made bearable by the presence of 2 foreign nurses, both from Rumania and both speaking excellent English. The otherwise English staff were indifferent and sometimes quite unpleasant. I could see them chatting over coffee in the office and totally ignoring the board registering bells calling for help.
Also, when I’ve been in hospital I found the foreign nurses excellent and very humane. Perhaps because they come from countries where elderly people are respected and cared for at home. Stop blaming foreigners ; we are responsible for this mess.

Guest
Lucia says:
29 November 2011

The blame cannot be totally put upon the paid Care Worker. I believe the MAIN problem should be put upon the Management of organisations ( and many of them advertise themselves as being Non-profit organisations) which employee the paid Care Workers who care for the elderly in our society.

The main issue is TRAINING. How well trained are the paid Care Workers before they are sent out to care for the vulnerable people in our communities. From experience one Care Organisation continually attempts to send paid Carers to help my father with dementia without prior dementia awareness training, or attempt to send unknown paid Carers without first coming along with an experienced carer of my father. Fortunately, I am able to speak up for my father to ensure he receives the best care. We are at present happy to have three main carers who are excellent. The only problem is when they go on holiday and their Organisation attempts to send us carers not known to my father.

The other issue is PAY. We obviously do not think much of our vulnerable people in society when the paid Care Workers and not paid a decent wage and not paid travelling expenses and not given enough time to care for these vulnerable people.

Another main issue is INSPECTION. Who checks the Organisations that provide paid Care Workers?

As for carers that come from abroad that can be useful for older people who have lived in the UK but originally come from other countries. For example due to his dementia my father has returned to speaking his native language, thus a paid Care Worker who spoke his language and understood his culture would have been very good.

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Guest

I agree with Lucia. Until this or any Government looks at how to limit profits on any care company and others for that matter, we will not see them investing in ‘TRAINING, PAY or INSPECTIONS’.
I am sure if the PAY levels were much more realistic that this encourage more indigenous (English speaking) people to join the the Caring Profession. There are plenty of people on the ‘dole’ who would be prepared to be offered the opportunity to work, if going to work didn’t mean them losing benefit money.

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Guest

Care assistants, auxiliary nurses and the like may get
what may appear to be small beer to many of us but
repatriated back to their countries to their families in
the likes of the Philippines, goes a very long way
indeed.

Little wonder they keep coming and being here, like to
stay on.

Old folks’ homes for one are quite dependent on their
services and as someone quite correctly points out,
local-educated people are not minded to take
on jobs perceived as of low status and having poor
pay and working conditions.

Likewise in the hospitality industry and a few others.

Guest
Gerald says:
16 November 2012

We have employed Philipinoes (Mainly Qualified Nurses) for many years , becuase of the lack of British Nurses willing to do this work. They are also now being employed more and more by the NHS.
We have always found them to be hard working and pleasant people who come miles from Home solely to provide for their families at Home. Surely this attitude should be applauded and not ridiculed.

Guest
nurse gladys says:
10 January 2012

Ive been an RGN for 24 years & have worked for the main part in nursing homes, however I have finally had enough. The standards have dropped, attitudes have changed & no one in authority seems to care. Training is none existent, new staff are counted in the numbers from day 1. The majority only had a basic grasp of english(boy did the owner exploit that one!) If you pay staff the minimum wage, work them to death & completely disrespect them, how can you expect 5 star service & care. I regularly worked 18 hour shifts without a break(even though an hour was deducted each day) My wages were usually short, rarely was this fully remedied. On the weekends roast chicken was on the menu the owner deemed 1 x 4lb chicken enough for 38 residents. The kitchen & stores were locked around 5pm & if people were hungry overnight its a good job we all took plenty of food with us. I could write a book but I’ll stop there. I am ashamed to say I resigned but would have dearly loved to take a few of the little oldies with me. The attitude to older people & their care & welfare really needs to change. We owe everything to these people.

Guest
Retired Nurse Kathy. says:
19 March 2012

I trained as a S.E.N in 1979, then much later converted to R.G.N. My experience over the years was mostly care of the elderly in hospital. I also spent many years as a Community Nurse which again was mostly elderly care. When I was being trained in College/ University we were taught to nurse at a high standard. My experience on the wards was a complete contrast, there was never enough staff, days/night shift, many patients didn’t get the care they deserved such as personnel hygiene, help with feeding, and finding time to communicate and help with mobility. Myself and many other members of staff/ team were just as frustrated, we had been trained to a high standard but felt we were failing our patients needs and there family’s needs, it was impossible to maintain such high standards when we had a shortage of staff, which was often I might add. I became disappointed and frustrated and I felt a failure. I moved jobs and became a community nurse which was so much more satisfying.

The care of our elderly loved ones is a disgrace, be it in hospital, residential care and nursing homes, I have from my own personnel account of this as my elderly aunt aged 91, and my friends elderly relative have both had a recent admission to hospital, both relatives were not fed or did they not have access to their drinking water, both were continent before admission, but shortage of staff made this another problem and caused extreme loss of dignity despite there age. I would also like to add that the meals they were offered was discussting, and we were taking food in. We were both told that they didn’t have time to feed relatives and we would have to go in and do this our selves. My cousin works full time and so does my friend, we had to sort this out our selves. This is disgusting!

The standard of care has dropped due to the fact that there are so many people being employed by the fact that they are holding the title of health care assistant, or personnel assistant and yes they have minimal training and are CHEAP!!!! Compared to a trained nurse.

Guest
gerald says:
30 October 2012

Dear Gladys,
Nursing homes, as you know, are run by nurses if they are as bad as you say why have you and your colleagues not done anything about it in all the 24 years you have been working there. The nhs were in charge of nursing homes at this time and could have easily closed them down if they had wished.
Maybe nurse kathy’s memories of the hospitals might explain the problem which i had to deal with in trying to improve care in the private sector over the last 30 years.
The situation is still not perfect but and it never will be due to under funding of the private sector (cost of care home placement one quarter of the price of a hospital placement)
When condemning a nursing home please be so kind as to compare with the hospital equivalent which is four times the price.

[Hello Gerald, we have edited your comment to make it ‘sentence case’. Please try not to write in all Capital letters as per our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
Jasmine says:
8 May 2012

I have been campaigning for continuity of care and experienced carers that have been trained in moving and handling. The care is for my 81 year old mother who has a spinal injury and associated problems. A year ago social services farmed out long term care to the private sector, I had meetings with care provider, abandoned by social services, complained to social services,complained to Quality Care Commission.. Whilst care provider was under review with the Quality Care Commission Mum had continuity of care and carers that knew there job. Once the care provider had all their ticks from the Quality Care Commission they informed social services that they could no longer cover Mums care for 4 hours a day.
I am not sure that complaining about the poor care that Mum had received has done us any favours, social services have now placed her with an care provider that have the same if not worse issues.
Social services said that we had to proceed or we would be left with no care, it was the only option, the only provider that could cover the 4 hours a day.
I looked at a list of approved care providers and emailed a reputable one to see if they could fit in 4 hours care a day, they said they could with notice.
Why we had no choice could be that this particular care provider was the only one in the price range that social services were prepared to pay
. A young girl was sent in today she could not roll Mum or use a slide sheet. She did not know what a night bag was or how to connect it, her partner was not competent enough to instruct her. Just one story of many we have gone from bad to worse.
Do I let it end here or carry on?

Guest
gerald says:
30 October 2012

This is happening all over the country, don’t blaim the care provider blaim the council and goverment for underfunding

Guest
Jasmine says:
31 October 2012

After reading the above comment I felt the need to comment further. Yes I do blame the “system ” for many of the failings in our situation. After social services placed Mum’s care with the private sector she had 35 different carers in 15 weeks, she had to instruct everyone on how she should be handled. At this stage she had been paralysed for 16 years she had more knowledge than a carer who had been working for a few weeks with little training.
After the initial 15 weeks she became exhausted and attempted to take her own life, one of the triggers was her care situation. We required support from social services this did not happen.
On the whole many of the “carers” are lovely people failed by the ” system “.
Mum’s care has settled into a workable package with approx 10 carers meeting her needs. Continuity of care has been a problem which has led to important tasks being neglected etc. etc. I am here to pick up the pieces, I fear for the people who do not have that luxury.

Guest
Gerald says:
31 October 2012

The whole “system” is TOTALLY under the control of The Social Services Department of the County Council. The Fund, Specifiy services obtain tenders and place Contracts to Providers .
They are also repsoncible for monitoring and vetting the service and for removing any unsuitable Provider. The only other agency which has just recently been involved is the CQC which as others have pointed out doesn’t really get that involved as yet in vetting the Care at Home System.
Before even properly starting the Public Sector through various avenues have begun to blame the CQC for the mess that the “Care at Home” system is in >As usual the Public sector blames everyone (particularly the Private Sector) for the mess THEY have caused.

Glad to hear that mum is getting a workable pakage from your new Provider, some problems cannot be dealt with overnight.

I personally do not think that this system will ever work properly without the correct level of financing Bearing in mind the whole idea is that it should be cheaper than a the Residential Care Home which it’ s supposed to replace at £500 per week for 24/7 Care

Guest

Native carers in our caring establishments is in the low %’s, because we refuse to work within establishments for minimum pay to the profit of indifferent care companies and as Care assistants in the community visiting elderly people in their homes for a pittance and too short a time to make any difference.
We have allowed Carers from newly inducted eastern European countries to take up many posts that were once held by Peoples from the Indian sub-continent. From my experience as a home manager those workers from India and its environs were prepared to give attentive caring and professional service to the elderly client group, but they are now banned from working to our detriment.
All this as a result from ignorant Governmental and Whitehall officials without a clue other than to be the only country to abide by European RULES..
As a singularly proven heartless Nation who are not prepared to care for their own elderly relatives as the do on the continent of Europe we shall reap what we failed to sow: Nothing except the lonely unhappiness of our elderly parents.

Guest
Gerald says:
14 January 2013

Dear Anthony,
I have been involved with Care of the Elderly for nearly 30 years and I have met many different people from all over the world and to say the least I am amazed to read your comments degrading your colleagues and the rest of this Country, you obviously haven,t visited other Countries and seen the appalling conditions out there.The main reason we have found for “Native workers” not taking up jobs is that the dole system encourages them not to.
In the Group I work for Good Caring “Native ” workers are by far in the majority maybe it’s your own employment policies (as a manager) you should be looking at

Guest
Gerald says:
21 January 2013

General Question

Has anyone had any help or assistance form either Help the Aged or Age Concern????

Guest
Gerald says:
7 February 2013

This question now needs urgently asking to the NHS doesn’t it??????? or doesn’t WHICH realise they are the largest Organisation involved in care of the Elderly??

Guest

Social services are responsible for the allocating of Community Care resources and work within a budget set by Government. The people that they employ to deliver Home Care services to the elderly in particular are expected to work within time lines of service delivery which do not allow for more than is prescribed on the individual care plans. The result is that many elderly have to manage on brief visits from efficient staff who deliver the care prescribed. Most Home care delivery staff on the ground do a satisfactory job. Only People of independent financial means can afford the levels of care that should be expected by everyone in an ideal world.
Social Services are forced to constantly raise the Criteria for receiving Home care services as budgets shrink leaving those who are unable to adequately represent themselves with poor services.
The Government refuses to say the words that are required to solve the problem: WE MUST ALL NOW TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CARE OF OUR OWN ELDERLY FAMILY MEMBERS.
The state can no longer afford to do this for us.

Guest
Ariadne says:
14 February 2014

1. Demographic changes will mean the problem will become much worse.
2. The UK does not have the financial resources to deal with the problem adequately.
3. The solution lies within society itself.
4. There has to be better cross-generational relationships.
5. Young people want their own accommodation.
6. Working parents want third party childcare.
7. Many older people suffer from loneliness.
8. Older people have skillsets.
9. It is wrong or too radical to suggest that – rather than concentrate on leaving an inheritance for those that follow – there should be some kind of cross-generational understanding/arrangement whereby the older members of society are cared for by the younger members in the final years in return for “the inheritance”.

Guest

The only way to improve the lot of elderly people needing care is to look to the people who should be providing it. The relatives or children. If all offspring were required by law to have made arrangements for their elderly relatives from whom they hoped to inherit, then this problem would hardly exist. Families in this country have a history of passing on wealth to their members. if this was only allowed following adequate and proper care packages being purchased and put in place by the inheritees for the people whose money they hoped to get. Those elderly folk who unfortunately don’t have relatives or whose relatives fail to make provision, would be served by a
government dept set up for this purpose and thus denying inheritance to take place. ‘This is a fair and just way in which our elders, many who have worked hard all their lives, would be better served in old age. The British people should be ashamed of the care system as it is now.

Guest
Ariadne says:
22 February 2014

I have heard that the legal position in Germany is that adult children are responsible for their parents in old age and that the state can look to them to fund care home fees.

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Guest

I agree – where the elderly have children it should be a family responsibility to help in their care when they need it. For those without family help, and lack of finance, then the socially-run care system should look after them. This would relieve pressure on an overloaded system, but more importantly provide loving and considerate care. For most of us, our parents looked after us when we needed them – payback time (hopefully for most of us a willing, if maybe inconvenient, act of love and respect).

Guest
Ariadne says:
23 February 2014

I wonder what the majority of the population would say if that were to become the law in the UK? If one of the main political parties were to put it in its next manifesto, would it be regarded as a vote winner or a vote loser? Presumably, it would attract the votes of the older generation. Would it lose the votes of the younger ones? Would this be a new political divide? I wonder if anyone has ever done any research into it and, if so, what was the result. Perhaps, if there were one of those 100,000 petitions it would achieve a debate in Parliament. Should we ask “Which” to look into it?

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Guest

@ Ariadne

‘I have heard that the legal position in Germany is that adult children
are responsible for their parents in old age and that the state can look
to them to fund care home fees.’

Singapore has similar laws too but it is rarely if at all enforced coming
from a legal practitioner or lawyer there well-versed in such matters.

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Guest

I can’t see this ever becoming a political issue, Ariadne. I just don’t believe any of the mainstream parties would include it in their manifesto. Maybe German people are more accommodating to this kind of rule han I think the UK’s citizens would be. I gave your potted summary of the situation earlier a thumbs-up as I think you have consisely identified the key issues that need to be taken into account.

There is a prevailing feeling in this country that society’s general norms more or less achieve the most satisfactory outcome in terms of support of the elderly by younger relatives without any degree of compulsion. It depends on goodwill, tolerance, a sense of obligation, plus time, ability and financial resources of course. In that complacent state of affairs bask the public authorities, both national and local, who have somehow lost sight of their priorities. Having enabled us to live longer and have our bodily weaknesses ameliorated by various bits of apparatus, an outcome from which the state derives immense pride, the authorities have neglected to put in place a decent support mechanism for those who need it most. How can massive tax credits be available for having children but virtually no financial support be to hand for those whose parents are barely surviving in any dignified sense?

I see the main problem at the moment is the advanced age of the generation next below the elderly. We know several relatives in their sixties and seventies who are now looking after, to a greater or lesser extent, their mothers or fathers – or both [or all four] in some cases and not always together – and finding it a real struggle. Just getting the help and support supposedly available from ‘the system’ is a major exercise, especially when large distances separate the relatives and they are dealing with local authorities and hospitals with which they have no other relationship and do not even understand their priorities. In country areas the problems are often compounded by remoteness from services and facilities and by poorer housing and social conditions. A further point is that there are also large numbers of elderly people who have no younger generation to look after them, or whose offspring have separated and become estranged from the parents, or have formed new relationships that come with a new set of elderly parents as well. Perhaps family life in the UK has become too fractured for its own long-term good and, as Ariadne suggested previously, a return to cross-generational family cohesion is required. Otherwise, the only solution is higher taxes so the state can provide.

Guest
Ariadne says:
23 February 2014

What are views on this? At a social event, I was talking to an accountant/economist, he said that UK plc just cant afford better care etc and that it relies a lot on the statistical fact that a lot of people do not actually live long enough to take a pension over years. He felt that it would be more realistic for the state to say – you can have 5 to 10 years pension maximum after you retire – apart from that you are on your own! He said that would be one mammoth incentive for people to take more interest in their retirement plans!

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Guest

Ariadne – interesting thought. Presume limiting pensions to everyone – private or state – for 5 years would soon see a decline in population and less strain on the public finances. It would simply leave an independently wealthy older generation. Alternatively we could vote for compulsory euthanasia at 65 and get rid of the whole problem?

Guest
Ariadne says:
23 February 2014

That`s what I first thought – but would it? On a purely objective theoretical level, I reflected and could see – on an individual level, it would force one to think about one`s future; on a family level, it might bring about a degree of cohesion – greater inter-dependence. However, I would be against compulsory euthanasia. On the other hand, I would be in favour of assisted suicide or whatever the correct expression is in appropriate circumstances. I spent 10 days at a parent`s bedside in hospital. The Liverpool Pathway was in operation. At the time, I was so upset that I did not realise what it meant. Looking back now and almost ever since, I would not wish that on anyone – myself included. There must be a better way to die – but now I suppose I am going off topic. I do, however, recollect seeing Edward G. Robinson in the film “Soylent Green” – that was a thought provoking way to go.

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Guest

Ariadne, I hope you realise I was being facetious? The whole concept of withdrawing finance from pensioners who have worked all their lives, paid tax and NI, and brought up the preceding generation is ludicrous.

The state pension costs us around £63 bn a year currently. We could contribute another £10 bn towards this by abolishing higher-rate tax relief on pension contributions, and by scrapping the tax free 25% lump sum concession. Money is short – use it better when times are hard.

I do not understand why, if cash is in short supply, we give £10 bn in foreign aid (second in the world to USA). Nor do I understand, when we have better things to spend money on, why we insist on being a “world power”, spending £20-34 bn on Trident replacement, £9 bn on aircraft carriers and aircraft (plus running costs) – why do we not get the EU to fund European defence?

Guest
Ariadne says:
23 February 2014

Oh, please do not misunderstand me. Any change would have to take years, no decades. If there were to be any mileage in it, it would have to be phased in over generations. The teenagers of today would be the ones to be affected. Mind you, judging by the way things are going, there might not be a world for them in 50 years time! Someone told me that the national debt is so large that it would take £85,000 from everyone in the country to clear it. Is that correct?

Guest

Malcolm, good comment. However as usual aid to India for example is not being cut due to India more or less threatening to withdraw trade if we do so. As this would allegedly cost us more than the aid we give (to a nation that has it’s own space programme!) politicians back down as they fear a backlash in loosing voters. (short term gain as per usual). Of course the fair way of giving everybody a pension would be to give everybody the same pension regardless of what you have done during your working live. If you held a good job you can save during your working live and we should all bow out at the same time (no exceptions). This is fairer and would save a lot and would stop people like Blair giving himself a hugely inflated pension of 1 million a year.

Guest
Ariadne says:
24 February 2014

My understanding is that international aid is unofficially linked to international trade. No one would admit it officially. I am sure there are statistics somewhere to show the relevant figures.

As regards state pensions and lifetime contributions, the problem is that it and the welfare system generally came into play as a result of things like the Beveridge report. However, 70 years ago people did not have the life expectancy they have now. Nor did the health service cover anything like the range of things it does now. State outgoings were expected to relate to incoming national insurance payments with the balance being met by general taxation. The problem is that the outgoings have ballooned and there would be a general outcry if NI and tax did likewise. The logical solution would be to re-introduce the link between lifetime contributions and later pension payments subject to a means-tested safety net for those in difficulty. In other words National INSURANCE should operate in the way it was originally meant to operate.

Whilst I am extremely grateful for the NHS and the welfare system, I am forced to admit that UKPlc cannot afford it in its present form… and the financial burden is going to get worse as time goes on and more people become older.

As regards spending financial resources on military/naval hardware, I believe that this is again set off against a mixture of not just political policies (both national and international) but also economic on the basis of the number of people employed and UK companies involved – both directly and along the supply chain. These companies can then use their “success” as a basis for seeking sales to other governments.

All in all, it is a question of priorities. In the state`s eyes, paying for care for the elderly does not produce much of an economic return in cold financial terms. That is why it loses out to other things. If we want that to change, then we would have to be prepared for a big increase in general taxation. That is why I am forced to the view that the only way to survive long term is to have families gain more cohesion, be less dysfunctional, and provide support between themselves – a naïve and idealistic utopian concept, if ever there was one!

Guest

Ariadne, it is more or less as you state. However that is how it is and not how it could be improved. The way it is, is open to corruption as is clearly demonstrated in the aid given to India. It is absolute nonsense giving aid to a country that has more billionaires than other countries, whose GDP is a lot better than the UK and who has its own space programme. No one is ever going to admit openly that they prefer to give aid so as to keep the trade as that clearly shows a short term gain to keep voters. Of course India would not stay away but in the short term it would hurt and we all know politicians are only in for 5 years at the time. To have pensions linked to wages is absurd. Pensioners need all looking after in their old age but none of them are contributing to society so why should a previous GP get more than a previous bin man. The GP had many years to save up the extra income he got used to. (A friend of mine who is a GP is buying his second aston martin car). Why are they not doing it? Fear of the too powerfull unions representing the teachers etc. It would save money though. It would also save money to encourage people to not have more than 2 or 3 children. It would save child benefit and care needed later. Not a popular thing to say but running out of resources is no fun either. These simple measures would save a lot and would enable us to take care of all older people. Greed and fear play a roll in us not moving forward and looking to the future instead of just tomorrow.

Guest
Ariadne says:
24 February 2014

“To have pensions linked to wages is absurd. Pensioners need all looking after in their old age but none of them are contributing to society so why should a previous GP get more than a previous bin man. The GP had many years to save up the extra income he got used to.”

I did not suggest that pensions be linked to wages. I suggested that the amount of pension be linked to what one has contributed over a lifetime to his pension “account”, with a safety net for those in need. If a GP were to contribute more financially over his lifetime to his “account”, then he/she should receive more as a pension at the appropriate time, based on proper actuarial data etc.

Guest

I did not say you did Ariadne. It is just what happens at the moment. My thought is like yours but with the difference that we all get the same pension which is of a reasonable level and those that can, set up their own pension beside the state pension. Before you say we have a state pension, I do mean a proper one and not the one where you cannot afford to put the heating on when we have a cold spell.

Guest
Ariadne says:
24 February 2014

Problem is – I don’t think UKPlc can afford to pay us all a proper pension – even if Trident etc were to be scapped. The country has been living beyond its means for too long. Politicians talk about reducing “the deficit”. They don`t seem to appreciate that the underlying “debt” is actually increasing every month. I suppose we would end up like Greece if the true state of affairs were to be addressed. Pretty depressing all round – not just for today`s pensioners but for generations to come.

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Guest

When the state pension originated people retired at 65 (60 ladies) and had a relatively short life expectancy thereafter – so pension costs were more limited then they are now. we still have, for the moment, the same pension entitlement age but, I guess, another 10 tears of life expectancy. This problem should have been addressed much earlier. I suggest we should have enforced payment contributions to personal pensions by both employers and employees that will give a “living income” on retirement. This should be investment-based. The state pension should simply be a safety net, topped up by relevant benefits, for those genuinely unable to save for themselves. I would also like to see the disparity between “gold plated” final salary public sector pension schemes and other state and private sector schemes abolished. I do not see why I should subsidise them – put everyone on the same level playing field.

Guest
Ariadne says:
24 February 2014

“I suggest we should have enforced payment contributions to personal pensions by both employers and employees that will give a “living income” on retirement. This should be investment-based.”

For what it`s worth, I agree in principle – but have you looked at the annuity market? Have you seen how charges eat away at investments? For the vast majority of people, it seems to be impossible to earn enough to build up a sufficiently large sum to provide a “living income”. Oh yes, if only the problem had been addressed much earlier. Part of the ongoing problem is that the politicians are afraid to face facts and tell us all the truth and come up with hard solutions because they are afraid of losing votes.

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Guest

ariadne, this is not a short term fix. It needs a long term solution. So saving for retirement should start at the beginning of your working life. Annuity costs is a separate issue – you have to pay someone to manage your money but annuity is not the only option. You can take out a SIPP – either manage it yourself if you are confident, or pay someone to manage it for you.
Another issue with state pensions is they a universal benefit – so many will get them who are not dependent on them, and not needy. They are paid for out of current tax and NI (aka tax), not out of money you have saved. So we could pay better pensions if they were targetted.

Guest

Ariadne you may be right but one thing is for sure we can not afford this enormous public sector final wage pension scheme. To add insult to injury the public sector thanks to all their unions still are allowed to bow out much earlier on a full pension. If they want to bow out early, fine but we should not pay their pension until they are 67 like the rest of us have to wait to get paid. Still leaves the sore point of public sector worker getting a good pension based on their wages. In the case of teachers it is even more rediculous. I know some one who happened to have worked as a teacher for some 8 years but because he puts ex amount in per year is guaranteed a full pension when he is of the right age, this means the tax payer making up the difference to what he has paid in himself. I do not see this happening for Joe the plumber. These kind of practices do put an enormous strain on things. Yes I know the pension was set when life expectancy was not much beyond 70 or so but it was also set as a set amount not based on wages received before.

Guest
Ariadne says:
24 February 2014

I agree that the public sector is a problem – but, unless everyone takes a “hit”, then this will probably be done over the medium to long term. Those working in the public sector would respond that their wages are generally lower and that they have planned their lifestyles upon the basis of what has been promised to them.

If there is a solution, then it has to be fair to all. It will take time – but, most of all, it needs the political will to do it. This requires the electorate to be realistic – but who is going to vote for a candidate, who is promising to make your life worse?

This is why I believe a start has to be made within families. Once the true extent of the problem is recognised, then and only then might there be the beginning of a political will to actually deal with all the inter-linked issues such as pensions, NHS and caring arrangements.

Guest

Yes Ariadne exactly what I have been saying all along. It should be punishable for a politician to base his solutions on short term gain in which case we may see some lasting well thought out solutions.

Guest
Ariadne says:
24 February 2014

Two other theoretical options would be – give the politicians a longer period in power so that they are not so concerned about the next election or – forget about the politicians and let the civil servants or other professionals run the system!

Guest

Ariadne, the public sector are very well paid mostly, teachers, doctors, councillors etc and they do get a pension!!!! The private sector who pays for the public sector has no pension unless they take care of one themselves. Promises have been broken time and time again to those in private employment. It is obvious the private sector can not go on contributing to unfair pension arrangements in the public sector. So start with at least letting the public sector work the same years as the private sector or if they want to leave early no pension until they are 67. Cannot be fairer than that but of course the unions would not agree.

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Guest

We seem to have deviated from the original topic – elderly care. I don’t think pensions will cover the cost of personal care we we become dependent. Should families be required to take more care of their parents? As far as care homes are concerned, one of the major problems seems to be, in some cases, a lack of care and compassion by inappropriate attitudes, just as happened in some hospitals. Money does not remedy this – choosing the right people, and getting rid of the wrong people, would. We fund the CQC, and yet they do not do their job, nor appear to be able to respond to individual complaints. Surely these basics need to be dealt with before we can move on.

Guest
Gerald says:
28 February 2014

Hi Malcolm,
Funding is the major problem, and there are Acts of parliament which are responsible for determining the State Funding, the main problem lately is that the criterion laid down in these Acts have been manipulated by the Local Government and the NHS, so that previously NHS funded patients are coming under the means tested system applied by the Councils.
I have tried to get information regards this system , with little success but it seems that it is all down to reducing costs in the NHS and making the Public pay privately, if this is the case, it is totally against the original concept of the NHS and there-fore illegal .
To fully understand the above one needs to look back at Residential Home placements (council funded) and Nursing Home Placements over the last 30 years.
Bye the way the CQC gets its funding from fees paid by Care home Operators (£4500 per year for a 40 bed Home based on bed numbers) and other establishments such as Hospitals (Private & NHS)
I agree that the CQC has had a rocky start a lot of this was due to using old Council staff.
If you look at the new people I think you will agree there is hope now for the future.

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Guest

Hello again Gerald,
I generally agree. However times have changed and more people have wealth to help fund their care – although it is unpalatable to have to sell the family home when some others, who have not bothered to save for their care in later life, get the same treatment funded by the state. In times of austerity I think funds have to be targetted at the deserving and needy – money is limited so we need to make best use of it.
I still think there are improvements that money cannot buy – like getting rid of unsuitable staff (at all levels) who mistreat, or condone ill-treatment of, inmates. We should encourage people to complain about mis-treatment, ensure they have adequate support or evidence, and treat them in confidence while the investigation takes place. I hate the term “whistleblower” – reminds me of “snitch” – but unless people are prepared to stand up for what is right, how can we ever expose malpractice? Good luck to the reformed CQC.

Guest
Gerald says:
2 March 2014

Dear Malcolm

Are you referring to the recent cases of cover ups by the exec of CQC , if you are you might remember me referring to completely biased actions of the CQC for many years, this is also happening in other institutions such as the BBC,THE NHS,THE LOCAL COUNCILS,MINISTRY OF HEALTH ETC. if you check out the common denominator all all these is UNISON isn’t it ?? It seems as though the Public Sector is not so unbiased as they would like us to believe.

Guest

Hi Gerald, the problem is so enormous that it is difficult to see our way out of it. The Bank of International settlements (BIS) which is at the top of the banking tier is totally above the law and any taxes. They instruct the banks underneath them. The banking system has been sucking the life out of everything by loaning money to governments which was not real money, merely a ledger entry, but wanting real money back in return. Our previous government threw the money away at an alarming rate, including the gold and had to borrow some of this ‘money’ from the imf. The banking industry has the government in a strangle hold as the interest alone is costing beyond belief. Because of this UK PLC is unable to see itself clear to give the cash where needed and we all suffer. There are only 4 countries left in the world that are free of this banking system which is run by just a few families. What to do????????

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ekc, if the UK had not been so reckless with borrowing money to fritter away our problem would be less. Close to home, look at the ridiculous costs of PFI that government used to avoid debt on the books. Look at NHS and Defence lack of control over procurement. Money wasted on useless computer systems. As examples.

Guest
Gerald says:
28 February 2014

Dear Malcolm,
It is all very clever to look at the grand view but I think that doing so totally takes peoples minds from the real issue which is that the Government (both parties) with the aid of Public officials are forcing the Public to pay for Care which was previously funded by the NHS ,if you refer to the NHS Act this is illegal , there has already been court cases which have acknowledge this and still this goes on .Most Councils and NHS PCTs have colluded in this .What I cannot understand why the Public has not been made aware.
For current conversations on this refer to other WHICH conversations.
It is not the Public’s fault as you say most of the blaim should go to the NHS Management for being totally inefficient and wasteful .This situation is appalling and like most things in the NHS people are gagged, paid off , and generally ignored.

Guest
Gerald says:
28 February 2014

Hi EKC
To complicated just deal with the main issue concentrate on getting the NHS to be efficient, at the moment it cna’t even be bothered to collect its debts from Private Payers from abroad (only running at approx £500,000,000 Five Hundred Million) yes £1/2 BIllION Pounds and then impose real purchasing directives between the PCTs and the TRUSTS.
Whilst I totally agree with everything you say regards the Banks I really think such a world wide problem is out of the scope of this conversation and could just rather cloud the issue.

Guest
Ariadne says:
28 February 2014

There is clearly a problem. I would like to know – what solution do you all propose?

Guest
Gerald says:
28 February 2014

Dear Ariadne,

With the existing Management structure of the NHS there isn’t a solution, I think that all the latest Governments have sort and obtained advice and non of them had have the guts to take on the problem.
Everyone seems to be blaiming the Banks for all our ills and to some extent I can see their point but Banks have been s******g everyone around the world for Centuries , the NHS only came into existence in the 1940 ‘s.
It is not the concept which is wrong it is the way it is being managed (what ‘s new?)

Guest

Hi Gerald,
Yes I know what you mean, the problem is, it filters down into everything as the government is no longer in control of its own spending really.
However getting back to the NHS, it is totally mismanaged with far too many management jobs created to manage the managers. Unfortunately Cameron committed the ultimate crime in selling of the one really good thing Labour created all those years ago i.e the NHS. We will be going the way of America if we don’t watch it.

Guest
Ariadne says:
28 February 2014

So – if either and/or both of the two of you were in power – what realistic and possible solution would either and/or both of you propose? It is no good just complaining – we have to move forward.

Guest
Gerald says:
1 March 2014

Dear Ariadne,
Encourage WHICH? to carry out a campaign against the Local Authorities and the NHS Rip off to stop them making Nursing Care “Means tested” .
Bring back the old system wherbye Doctors are responcible for determining medical needs for Care Home placements instead of Beurocrats .
Deal with the problem at hand , do not try to deal with World Wide problems as other are trying to do,this is totally confusing and unnecessary.Just a reminder for everyone what this conversation is
all about “Why is elderly care failing? Older people have human rights too” I suggest this is Everyones rights under the NHS Act where it states quite clearly treatment is free and now we also have a choice of “where” Why are we being means tested I ask, simple question requires simple answer !

Guest
ekc says:
1 March 2014

Yes Gerald you are right we did stray a bit. However the problem is that there is no money to go round which is why people are now being means tested. We can all scream and say but it should not but when there is no money because it was frittered away and the IMF stood there actively encouraging the UK to borrow, what do we do?? GP’s salaries went up far too high under labour which does not help. Once a wage goes up it is difficult to reduce it but it has a knock on effect. Yes we can bury our head in the sand and say but we need to talk about why the elderly care is failing and do not look beyond it. However the picture is much wider which is why we need to look further. It is all very complex. The biggest problem is however there is no money to go round any more and as usual the most vulnerable are hit first, in this case the elderly. So where do we take the money from?? Overpaid GP’s, too much management in the NHS, bureau cratic failure in collecting monies from overseas???

Guest
Gerald says:
2 March 2014

dear exc
Since nursing care is the responcibilty of the NHS why shouldn’t we make them responcible , why shouln;t we expect them to be efficient, why should we let them get away with murder.
why should we turn a blind eye to the failings of the NHS ???
THE nhs COSTS US ALL BILLIONS if you look at your stoppages in your wages or salaries you will find that the National Insurance costs more than all the PAYE put togther.
if one paid this amount of money to , say BUPA wouldn;t one expect good value for money or at least them to deliver a reasonable service ??

Surely that is the whole ethos of WHICH? CONSUMER, why don’t we apply it to thePUBLIC Sector and PRIVATE sector provivions alike.and stop being biased against the PRIVATE SECTOR

Guest
ekc = emma says:
2 March 2014

Hi Gerald,
There is absolutely no reason why we should not expect them to be efficient. The NHS is one of the best things achieved and we should expect it to be efficient. That is my whole point. It does cost us all a lot and since the employer is supposed to pay slightly more in contributions than the employee you are right it costs more than the payee put together. But as mentioned before when governments squander money on a lot of things in the NHS to cover up unemployment for one than this big machine gets too big to run efficiently. Creating jobs out of thin air, upping up the wages of GP’s by some 50% etc etc is costing us all dearly. It has a ripple effect that unfortunately is felt by the most vulnerable the hardest, the elderly in care homes.. My Father in Law went to a care home which had a committee of elderly residents and the home was run very well indeed. This a very good way of running them but they are very far and few between.
BTW I work in the private sector and feel biased against the public sector as they forever want more forgetting that the private sector will have to pay for it.

Guest
Gerald says:
2 March 2014

Dear Emma,
The NHS Act of Parliament states ” Nursing Costs are the responcibilty of the NHS” and should be FREE to all . I don’t think you appreciate that the NHS with the aid of the Council Officials are insiduously making the Public Pat for this care through “Means |Testing” this is illegal and numerous Court Cases have found them guilty already why do they still persist I wonder,

The Proproitors of all Care Homes are responcible (Good and Bad) for the running of their homes and surely the Public will penalise them if they don.t like what they are being givenby taking their custom elsrwhere this is what is the Public’s right under freedom of choice isn’t it Try and get this service from any Public Sector provision.

Bye the way I was refering to the National Insurance Taxes as opposed to the Pay as you earn Taxes TOTALs for the Country.

I an pleased to hear that you work in the Private Sector, be Proud of what you do, if you really compare qualities in the Publice and Private Sectors by listening to a broad spectre of clients over a long period you might find numerous people who consider we are doing a good job. Please do not listen to the knockers of this world, they have no intention of giving us n unbiased opinion

Just rember the Publice have voted with their feet and funds to come to the Private Sector in spite of all the efforts of our Public Servants to the contrary

Keep up the GOOD WORK

All Best wishes

Gerald

Guest
emma says:
2 March 2014

I totally agree with you Gerald. Means testing is a nasty thing but it goes on unfortunately. Unfortunately not all old people have the luxury to choose a private care home and it is those I feel sorry for. I am proud to be in the private sector and am sick to death of all the moaning done by our public workers. (we have to work till 67, they want to bow out as early as 55 in some cases for one).

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Guest

This phrase ‘ there’s no money to go round anymore’ begs the question of who is to be sacrificed. There is no immutable law that says it has to be the most vulnerable, unless you mean that it might be the most politically rewarding
Why not take money from the rich? Answer – because they will exert financial and political pressure. Simple really. Old people are not politically organised. As long as they are seen to be the responsibility of their family there’s no political disadvantage in ignoring them. Get them cared for on the cheap and everyone else will be happy – heaven forbid that income tax should be raised
Apply a generous means test and support people who have worked hard all their lives so that they can have decent care without having to be dependent on aging children (in their 60’s) Just tax their capital gains on their houses when they die, in the normal way. Not all elderly people are rich , as some people seem to think so why should they be treated punitively once they reach retirement age?

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I would like to hear of more care homes where the residents have a say in how things are run. In fact I would go further and ask why people approaching the time when they know they are going to need care don’t get together and set up their own homes, possibly with ‘start-up’ support from the government. That way they can be with their friends and not be bullied and ill-treated by under-paid, poorly trained staff. Care homes need not be profit-making companies, they could also be co-operatives and new forms of non-profits. Now is the time to be thinking about alternatives.

Guest

Hi Ariadne,
Well for a start of salvage what we can of the NHS before it all falls in the hands of private firms who will only have one goal which is to make the shareholders happy which means high costs of insuring oneself. (so short term gain for the politicians but long time suffering for all)
Secondly streamline it by getting rid of the burden of too many managers at a high cost.
Thirdly some of the managerial wages are astronomically high and need to come down which can be achieved by various means.
Fourthly stop closing down all hospitals that are not big enough and centralising everything, this may be easier for the consultant but costs more in the form of so many other things. Bigger is not better as they always seem to think.
Private patients from abroad have to pay upfront for treatment as we would if we go abroad.
These are just some of the top of my head, if I sit down I could think of a lot more, the way the food is run, the cleaning companies are run, the wards are run. The list is endless. It has been allowed to get out of hand by failings of the governments to keep a close look at it all.

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I agree with cutting out wasteful managerial layers. We should also stop paying outrageous fees to doctors who perform an A&E shift. However I believe in centralised hospitals – the medical benefits of concentrating excellence in both staff and facilities on one site far outweigh the convenience of having a local hospital. Much of A&E could better be dealt with at one level by GP health centres. Uninformed view, of course.

Guest

Malcolm centralising for excellence is great, however an awful lot of hospital care is for routine stuff and can easily be dealt with locally thus avoiding the demolishing of local hospitals and creating ever bigger centralised ones. All this centralising leads to transport problems for a start of.

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ekc, agreed. I was not against local general hospitals, but centralising specialist activities – e.g. heart, lung, cancer and the like.

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The debate seems to have run full circle with some really disturbing accounts of elderly care. As we are all tending to live longer it automatically brings with it added problems. In previous times the responsibility of care usually fell on female offsprings but times have changed since most women in this country now have to work to meet family monetary demands. However there are always exceptions as we have seen and those fortunate enough to be able to afford to stay home should still take on some responsibility of care for their elderly.
There are other issues however which need to be addressed.
Elderly people can become very set in their ways and often are very reluctant to move closer to relatives who sometimes are themselves retired as has already been indicated which increases the burden on them.
Care homes are increasingly being sold off to the private sector which are not always as well regulated as the public sector. I have first hand experience of a disabled relative living in a public/privately run care home. The home is comfortable and clean and seemingly we’ll run but the standard of care leaves a lot to be desired with frequent staff changes, other staff would be better suited to working in the military, staff confined to offices working on computers instead of mingling with residents, other staff using company vehicles intended for residents transportation thereby saving on petrol costs. All these things are rarely picked up by the CQC as medical staff will always support each other and non medical staff are afraid of losing their jobs if they become whistleblowers. They usually decide to move on and so the situation persists.

Guest
Gerald says:
2 March 2014

Dear Beryl,
The question of who should or should not care for the elderly is left up to the Great British Public and should not be decided by Beurocrats after all we are supposed to be a Democrasy.
I have been in the business (and proud of it) for over 30 years, I have seen the Public making their choices (and paying as necessary) over this period of time and as you say the Public Sector Council run homes have been seriously lacking and nearfly all have been closed down in spite of many Councils subsidising them for years.The whole process is called freedom of choice which I would suggest is the Public prime motivator.
For an indicator of how ell the Public Sector regulates itself one only needs to look at the Mids StaffsHospital cover up by CQC and other childrens Hospitals where many children and old people died needlessly through further cover ups numerous wistle blowers inside and out were totally ighnored and harrased before someone listened, I can assure you ththat this abmissmal siuation would not have been condoned if it was the Private Sector. you really have got your assumptions the wrong way around.
Bye the way I really do not think the Cheif Exec, from a Private Company would have been given the lead role in the NHS (as happened to the Mid Staffs chappy) do you?

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Guest

Beryl – Which has looked into care homes. Search for the Conversation: “Care homes are failing – but is it too hard to complain?” I think you are right to be concerned about the private sector too.

Guest
emma says:
2 March 2014

Hi Gerald,
Privately run homes can be much more efficient if the owner is not just in it for the money. Unfortunately a lot of them are, which goes at the cost of the people that need taking care of.
Publicly run homes have the problem of complete and utter inefficient bureaucratic leadership which means usually a badly run home.

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Guest

I entirely agree with the majority of your response Gerald and understand your frustration and concerns but my “assumptions” are very much based on facts. Your views are quite correct in as much as we are a democratic society where freedom of choice is encouraged and respected.

Unfortunately in the real world there is always going to be people who for one reason or another (there is usually money involved) will take advantage of the sick and vulnerable (and incidentally their relatives!) As you know with your long experience this is a fact of life and nothing is entirely black or white.

The NHS is struggling financially with currently a third of hospitals millions in debt. Millions of £’s of taxpayers hard earned money is being spent on private care in privately run care homes. Do you know what % of this is being spent on patient care and what % lines the pockets of shareholders which could easily contribute towards our struggling NHS hospitals? We are not allowed this info as it comes within the remit of commercial confidentiality (similar to patient confidentiality as you can no doubt relate to working in the profession and restricts staff members in both the public and private sector blowing the whistle on negligence.) A large % of privately run hospitals are owned by foreign companies anyway, (many of them American.) Do we really want to revert to an American style health system?

Thank goodness as a result of The Mid Staffs debacle there have been changes made to the CQC Executive Committee who seem to be doing a much better job but I reiterate the onus is still on the patient or their relatives who have the unenviable task of challenging the system when mistakes are made. I too have had cause to complain to them in the past and have had partial satisfactory results but only through perseverance and persistence.
Let us hope that the CEO from the private company does a much better job ………….only time will tell!

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Cheers for the info Wavechange. As a comparative latecomer to Which? conversation I missed out on the previous debate on Care Homes but will certainly search the “archives.”

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Gerald, “I can assure you that this abysmal siuation would not have been condoned if it was the Private Sector”. As far as I am aware, Southern Cross, the Bristol care home and Whitstable as examples were in the private sector and mistreated their patients disgracefully? This seems to cut across both public and private sectors, so perhaps it is more related to bad people and management?

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Absolutely. There is good and bad in both sectors. It would be interesting to know if Gerald has had any involvement with either.

Guest
Gerald says:
3 March 2014

Dear Malcolm,
The Southern Cross issue had nothing to do with Patient care ,this Group got into financial trouble because it didn’t make the large profits which everyone seems to think the Private Sector is guilty of. This was one of the largest groups in the Country and catered prodominately for State Funded clients, they had been asking the Local Authorities for realistic increases if fees for years and were continually ignored.
This Group were closed down in an efficient organised manor and its clients were assimilated into other Private Sector Care Homes with due care and attention.
Has the NHS closed down th Mid Staffs Hospital I wonder ? they have not gone bankrupt they just treated 100’s of people absolutely awful.It seems this is acceptable then, as long as one doesn,t make a profit ?? by the way has anyone actual compared what a NHS Trust gets paid for bed and breakfast with the Private Sector , I understand the NHS gets 4 times as much and still they can,t “make it Pay” Don’t tell me that the NHS is better, I really think that recent events disprove this

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Gerald, I see this report as a patient care issue for Southern Cross: “Late in 2011, two staff at the company’s Orchid View care home in Copthorne, West Sussex, were arrested on suspicion of ill-treatment and neglect of residents.[19] The case had come to the notice of the authorities due to a whistleblower. A coroner’s ruling in 2013 found that 19 deaths at Orchid View were unexplained, but stated that under Southern Cross’ former management the home was “mismanaged and understaffed”, and rife with “institutionalised abuse”. Hardly an endorsement for the way the company operated. Assuming this entry in Wikipedia is accurate, of course.
As I said earlier, this kind of maltreatment seems independent of whether it is public or private. I cannot understand why we let it go on for so long without acting, and why we allow those responsible to go unpunished. If managers were held personally responsible for such “institutionalised abuse” perhaps they would take more care to see it didn’t happen – this includes directors who continue to rise up the public service ladder. They might then see it worthwhile putting in reporting systems to protect patients (and themselves) and not turning a blind eye.

Guest
emma says:
3 March 2014

Hi Gerald, you are right it does cost an absolute arm and leg to stay a night in an nhs hospital, equivalent to a 5 star hotel but of course not with the 5 star treatment and food you would expect.
Not sure how this can be justified.

Guest
Ariadne says:
3 March 2014

I wonder if the next-of-kin ever sue on behalf of their elderly relations. In other words, if the abuse is not being punished in the criminal courts, then why not raise it in the civil courts. If financial pockets were to be affected, then improvements might come faster!

Guest
emma says:
3 March 2014

Ultimately directors are already responsible for what goes on in a f