Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

'Long way to go' for social care

Elderly (generic)
Like most western countries, the UK has an ageing population

A fifth of social care places purchased by councils in England were in adult care homes rated "poor" or only "adequate", a watchdog has found.

Overall, the Commission for Social Care Inspection said council provision was improving, but there was still "a long way to go" to transform the system.

It said plans to allow people greater control were happening too slowly.

Ministers said although social care was "better now than it has ever been" they wanted to press on with improvements.

Help the Aged said there were "fundamental failures" in the system.

"This report shows that the government's aspirations of putting people first are far from a reality, said the charity's director of policy Paul Cann.

'In control'

The CSCI oversees 18,500 adult care homes in England, as well as other support services such as meals-on-wheels.

In 2007, councils purchased just over half of all registered places in care homes in England - some 36,500. The rest were provided by people paying for their own care.

Looking specifically at homes for the elderly, the CSCI found that 22% of places purchased by councils were in facilities rated poor or adequate.

It also noted a sharp rise in the number of job vacancies in the social care sector. In the first six months of 2008, Job Centres recorded 121,180 vacancies, compared with 79,406 in the first six months of 2004.

He'd be saying to me, 'Get me out of here'
Diana Lewin, who has struggled to find a care home for her husband

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said more people were being helped to live independently in their own homes, and were "in control of their own services" than before.

He added that the quality of residential care had also improved, with 87% of councils rated with either two or the full three stars. And he said there were now nearly 5,000 dignity champions around the country - part of a campaign to encourage more respect for older people in care.

"However I want us to press forwards with further improvements," he said.

"We are investing over 500m to tailor more services to individual needs. We will help councils spread best practice quickly so that more can share the benefits of personalising services."

'Second-rate'

Diana Lewin, from Shropshire, told the BBC about her struggle to find a home for her husband Paul who suffers from Parkinson's. She moved him six times in seven years because she was unhappy with his care.

"I've felt very drained," she said. "I've felt I couldn't get on with my own life because I was just so worried about him.

"He'd be saying to me, 'Get me out of here,' but he wouldn't say it to anybody else. They'd say, 'Oh, he's completely happy here.'

"A lot of care staff can't see me as Paul's wife, who cares about him - they just see me as somebody who complains."

Help the Aged said the "systemic failures" needed to be addressed.

"Despite some overall improvements, this report shows there are still far too many older people forced to endure second-rate care at the hands of our failing social care system," Mr Cann said.

"The general failure of the system is also reflected in the large number of staff vacancies - care isn't being valued and until it is, more and more older people will continue to miss out on support."

'Tailor-made care'

The CSCI also looked at how much had been done to introduce personalised care - allowing individuals to choose the care they want.

The watchdog's conclusion was that progress was "patchy" - 21% of councils were judged to be excellent, but 23% only "adequate".

Diana Lewin, whose husband Paul has Parkinson's and is in care
Diana Lewin moved her husband to six different care homes in seven years

Dame Denise Platt, chairman of the CSCI, said: "People who need social care should be seen as individuals, first and foremost.

"The support they receive should be tailor-made, allowing people to live their lives as they choose.

"The government's ambition to transform care services is to be commended. However, there is still a long way to go to turn policy into practice."

Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, said families needed help to navigate the system.

"We are beginning to see that in the tight financial situation, local authorities are cutting their budgets and expecting more from families. However, a short-sighted approach that leaves carers suffering ill health and forcing them to give up work, is not only unfair, but is bad for the economic future of the country."

Last June, coroner for the Isle of Wight John Matthews said the CSCI was "worse than useless," branding it "a watchdog without any teeth or even a will to act".

From April, the CSCI, along with the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission, will be replaced by a single, integrated regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

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SEE ALSO
Watchdog forces care home closure
02 Dec 08 |  Leicestershire
Q&A: Social care
12 May 08 |  Health

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Body recovered KT NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, Jan 27: Police claimed to have recovered an unidentified body from General Bus Stand area. Police said that body of unidentified man age at-least 35 years was found at Bus Stand here today. It was noticed lying in the Bus Stand area by some shopkeepers who informed police. The cops shifted the body to the GMC hospital where it has been kept of identification and autopsy. Police has initiated inquest proceeding under section 174 CrPC. Man run over by train, 6 injured in mishaps KT NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, Jan 27: An unidentified man was run over by a train at Bari Brahamna area while six persons were injured in different road mishaps. Police reports said that an unidentified man was run over by Jammu Mail train at 91.2 Railway track under the jurisdiction of Police Post GRP Bari Brahamna on January 26, 2009 at 10.30 AM. The GRP cops shifted the body to the GMC hospital where it has been kept of identification and autopsy. Police has initiated inquest proceeding under section 174 CrPC in this connection. Six persons were injured in different road accidents here since late night. Saddam Hussain, 9, son of Shamas-ud-Din resident of Chatha Sunjawan hit by Scorpio at Malik Market. Sikander Singh son of Kamal Singh resident of Jhiri and Parveen Sharma son of Om Parkash resident of Kana Chak riding on a motor cycle collided with another motorcycles at Kana Chak. Injured were admitted to the GMC hospital for treatment. Motorcycle seized KT NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, Jan 27: Police claimed to have seized Hero Honda passion motorcycle from Police Post Greater Kailash under section 550 CrPC. Police said motorcycle Hero Honda passion without registration number, having Chassis number 07J05C04867 has been seized by police post Greater Kailash under section 550 CrPC. Elderly man among 3 missing KT NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, Jan 27: Three persons were missing from different places in Jammu. Police said, Sarwan Kumar, 73 son of Santu Ram resident of Raipur Satwari was missing since January 20, 2009 from his home, Poli Devi, 36, wife of Parshotam Chand resident of Ghantwal Chenani has been missing since January 18, 2009 from her home and Muneer Hussain, 28, son of Masoom Ali resident of Chack Bagla falling under the jurisdiction of Police Station Ramgarh has been missing since January 21, 2009 from Chack Baghla. Police have taken cognizance. 3 make abortive bids KT NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, Jan 27: Three persons made abortive bids on their lives by consuming poisonous substance at different places in Jammu. They were identified as Iram daughter of Abdul hafiz resident of Christian Colony Jammu, Ranjeet Paul son of Chuni Lal resident of Shibu Chack Bishnah and Sanjay Kumar son of Mohan Lal resident of Tarlokpur. They were admitted to the GMC hospital for treatment. BAJ suspends work in the Subordinate Court JAMMU, Jan 27 (JNF): Bar Association Jammu today suspended work in the Subordinate Courts here to mourn the death of Advocate Tilak Raj Sharma a senior member of the Bar. A meeting was held under the chairmanship of its President Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi to condole the death of Advocate Tilak Raj Sharma who died on Saturday night. The other members of the Bar who paid rich tribute to the departed soul said that Tilak Raj Sharma was social reformer and great thinker and also a political leader. Two minutes silence was observed and decided not to appear in the court for today. - 19 hrs ago
Medical News Today Help The Aged And Age Concern Respond To Commission For Social Care Inspection's State Of Social Care Report - 22 hrs ago
Telegraph Pensioners funding their own care - 43 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Vulnerable people are not getting the tailored help they need - 44 hrs ago
Sunday TimesReport blasts government over failing care system - 45 hrs ago
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