Special measures coming for failing care homes and homecare providers – 1st August 2014

If a school or college is judged to be failing its school children or students through lack of leadership and/or poor quality teaching, there are systems in place to encourage rapid improvement or face the prospect of closure – so called 'special measures'. We've seen these measures work in hospitals and other clinical environments over the last year and now new government proposals suggest the same structures are needed for social care provision – in both care homes and domestic settings.

For more information see link



CQC How providers can meet 'fundamental standards' of care


1st August 2014

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has drafted guidance on how the 46,000 health and adult social care providers and services that it regulates across England can meet the government's new regulations on care and what actions it will take when they fail.

The new regulations (called "fundamental standards") are more focused and clear about the care that people should always expect to receive. They were laid before Parliament earlier this month and will come into effect by next April.

They include both the new "duty of candour" and the "fit and proper persons" requirements. These will oblige providers to be open and honest when things go wrong and to hold directors to account when care fails people. These two requirements will apply to NHS trusts from October.

For more information see link



Patients with dementia increases by 62% over seven years


1st August 2014

Provisional figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show 344,000 patients had a recorded diagnosis of dementia in 2013/14.

This is a rise from 319,000 in 2012/13 and from 213,000 in 2006/07, when the data was first collected.

Today's statistics show the numbers of patients registered with GP practices in England who have a recorded diagnosis of dementia and this is the first time the HSCIC has published a standalone report on this subject.

Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) Recorded Dementia Diagnoses – Provisional 2013/14(2,3), shows the increase in recorded diagnosis has been steady since this data was first collected. The rise may be due to the ageing population, an increase in the number of people being diagnosed, improved recording of diagnoses or a combination of factors.

For more information see link




Thousands of strokes and deaths preventable from 'silent killer' - 25th June 2014

Thousands of strokes and deaths due to atrial fibrillation could be prevented each year by ensuring patients receive effective anticoagulant drugs, according to updated guidance from NICE.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) causes the heart to beat irregularly, and often speed up. Around 800,000 people in the UK have AF, though up to 250,000 people may be living with AF that is unrecognised. The condition is described as a 'silent killer' as many people with AF have no symptoms and it can be difficult to diagnose.

The likelihood of stroke increases five times among those with AF, with 12,500 strokes directly attributable to AF occurring annually. These strokes can be effectively prevented through anticoagulation drugs, yet only 45% of those who are eligible for these treatments currently receive them.

This could be due partly to the risks and side effects associated with warfarin - a commonly used anticoagulant that is effective but has certain drawbacks, and requires regular monitoring and dose adjustments, to ensure it is working properly. In addition, aspirin has historically been recommended as a less effective but safer alternative to warfarin to reduce the risk of stroke in people with AF.

For more information see link



Responding to the Dementia Challenge: Policy into practice - 27th June 2014

Over the last couple of years, the country's focus on improving the standard of dementia care has intensified. Partly, I believe, as a response to David Cameron's Dementia Challenge pledge, but also as a result of the stark reality that 800,000 people in the UK now live with the condition. As such, creating Dementia Friendly Communities and improving the standard of dementia care has never been more important. So how can we all play an active role in this?


At the Accord Group, we are taking on this challenge in a number of ways. Ways that we believe can be, and are in some cases are already being, replicated by other housing, care and health providers across the country. We have invested heavily in energising our local communities in the West Midlands, to embrace the Dementia Friends programme and offer their time and support to the two thirds of people with the condition who live in their own homes or supported housing. Our Dementia Friends provide friendship, help with transport, activity and much, much more.

For more information see link




Complaints `help keep social care up to standard'


1st June 2014

LOCAL AUTHORITY COMPLAINTS procedures should be “sensitive to adult social care users' fears and concerns; welcoming to the important lessons for improving practice that they reveal, and should never in any way inhibit the capacity of citizens to help put things right when they're going wrong.”

So says ADASS President David Pearson in response to the Local Government Ombudsman report published today detailing the volume of complaints they'd received from users of adult social care services. He echoed Anna Bradley, Chair of Healthwatch England, who said that the increase in numbers of complaints since 2009 shows that more people feel they can make their voices heard, and help keep services `up to scratch'.

For more information see link



Older people should be cared for at home


1st June 2014

At home is one of a series of three briefings from an ILC-UK and Age UK seminar series exploring how communities need to adapt to an ageing society. 

These briefings summarise some of the evidence on the topics discussed during the seminars and support a final report, to be launched late May 2014.

The home environment is an important factor in the wellbeing of

 people of all ages. For older people who are likely to be spending a substantial proportion of their time at home, the significance of a home environment that supports their wellbeing and an active lifestyle within their communities is of amplified importance. 

Housing issues impact on independence, personal choice, prevention, and joined-up cross-sector services impact substantially on health and wellbeing - with subsequent repercussions on community engagement. This briefing examines how people ageing in the community can be supported through good design, planning and adaptation of their homes to support their health and happiness.

For more information see link




16th April – 2014 - Personalisation: a continuing journey


Many social care services have been transformed over the last ten years. Personal budgets, direct payments are a catalyst for changing lives. But unlike children who ask "have we arrived yet?" personalisation can be seen as a continuing journey, without a clear end point. Perhaps in the words of James T Kirk "to boldly go where no one has gone before" is more accurate.

It is not just about meeting individual need in a way that enhances choice and individual aspiration, but co-production and sharing responsibility with individuals, groups and communities for what is available in the context of reducing resources and increasing need.

It is also about helping people to remain as independent as possible and to reduce the number of people needing long term support. This is often forgotten and prevention is a key cornerstone of the Care Bill.

For more information see link - http://www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/Blog/artic........



14th April 2014 - CQC: How we regulate, inspect and rate services


We're changing the way we regulate, inspect and rate health and care services. Please tell us what you think of our plans.

About this consultation - Between Wednesday, 9 April and Wednesday, 4 June 2014 we want to find out what people think about how we're planning to change the way we regulate, inspect and rate care services.

For more information see link – http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/get-involved/consulta........



14th April 2014 - Regulation of Health and Social Care Professionals

This project was a review of the UK law relating to the regulation of health care professionals, and in England only, the regulation of social workers.

The issues considered by the review included:

•The registration and renewal of registration of professionals, student registers, registration appeals, protected titles and protected functions
•How the regulators oversee the quality of pre-registration and post-registration education and training
•How the regulators set standards for professional conduct and practice, and ensure ongoing practice standards (for example, through revalidation)
•The investigation and adjudication of fitness to practise case
•The role of the Professional Standards Authority
•The regulation of business premises and activities
•The governance arrangements of the regulators, including the size and composition of Councils
•The systems through which the regulators can be held to account, including the roles of the Privy Council, Government and Parliament, and duties to consult the public.

For more information see link - http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/publications/H........