A letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

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I chose a good voluntary sector nursing home..which could offer a far better quality of life and support than I could offer. It was the right choice - absolutely brilliant.
That's fine if the person you care for 'fits' the system into which you want to place them, in our case NHS couldn't cope in a hospital due to Caree's complex condition and I had to go stay at hospital with him for 2 weeks. Image
Where does that leave us and countless others when NHS say 'we can't cope so you take him home and cope alone'. Image Image
I think I'll pass on our present, 'wonderful' system of care if you don't mind. Image
I'm afraid it's not a 'one size fits all' type of situation.
marie
A few years back it was still possible to find good care homes, within a reasonable visiting distance.
Now it is a postal lottery to get the care that you need, individually tailored and you need to win the lottery to fund it.
Dear excalibur:Your quite right about having a choice, the choice is care for the loved one yourself or allow them to be abused and neglected in a carehome, the amount of abuse that is allowed to carry on today is huge, you seem to think that we all have this wonderful selection of places to put our loved ones if we decide not to care for them ourselves, i am affraid you must be one of the very few lucky people who have had a good experience of carehomes, i get calls everyday about abuse, it is getting worse not better.
The government for many years have been complacent in the neglect and abuse of the elderly, if you think otherwise, i feel you have not opened your eyes wide enough to see what is going on, we all make choices but if we decide to put our own flesh and blood into the hands of some other organisation then we should feel safe and secure in the knowledge that at least they will be safe and secure, fed properly, given fluids , given their medication when needed, not drugged upto the hilt to make life easier for the staff, animals in kennels have more rights than the elderly and our loved ones, i could be wrong but you seem to dispute this, you only have to read the newspapers everyday and there are new cases of abuse all the time.
I am proud to have decided to care for my mother for the last twenty years of her life at home, the elderly have paid for the right to be taken care off properly in their old age without the worry of abuse and neglect, if you dont see that then there is nothing i can do to change your mind, half a million cases of abuse each year and the figures are growing each year, those figures are recognised by all the normal institutions, if that does not tell you what is going on then nothing will, as i have said before and i will say again, if that was happening to children in those numbers the government would stop it straight away, i am sure that there are good quality carehomes around but they are far and few, they are rare, most people cannot afford carehomes let alone the good ones, your experience excalibur has by your account been a good one, i am pleased for you but mine and others experience is far from good, i shall keep on fighting these uncaring beaurocrats and MPs and Ministers, we all need to fight them otherwise in a few years we will start to see state run places like in Victorian Times where they used to put mentally ill people just to hide them away from society, is that what you want to happen because it is going that way, the elderly population is increasing, more people need care, unless more finances are put into place for people to care for their relatives at home then i am affraid we will see trouble on the streets of our cities, even one of Mr Browns own advisors warned that if he does not stop the huge gap between the rich and the poor of this country then he will have trouble, things and people can only take so much before they explode, the neglected groups of this country will not carry on just accepting this state of affairs for ever.Sorry to have rattled on but this subject is one which i am very close to as many of you are are, if we stick together then one day we may make a diffrence to some other carers and elderly relatives or young relatives, this effects everyone.

Tonyxx Image
I've seen relatives in good and bad care homes, Mum's sister had alzheimers and despite the care home being new and comfortable she still had several bad falls due to lack of supervision. Mum's uncle ended up in a badly run and neglected council nursing home, we only saw him the once and he wanted us to take him home - his son had decided he'd had enough of being a carer, his dad only lived six months after being dumped in that place.

I swore to Mum she'd never end up in a home as long as I've got breath in my body - I've kept that promise for 20 years and counting, despite having some difficult times and making many personal sacrifices I've never regretted a minute.

Paula xx
Dear Paula: I know your mum is very grateful for what you have done for her, you have given your devotion and love to the woman who brought you into this world and i am sure she adores and loves you even more for what you have done, your mum obviously raised a woman with a very big and warm heart, i raise my hat to you and all the carers out there who are doing a similar job, god bless you all.

Tonyxx Image Image
Bless you Tony, I just think of it as giving back some of the love and care she gave me as a child. I know you felt exactly the same about your dear Mum.

Take care

Paula xx
The reply i got from Peter Hain at the DWP was utter crap, the usual copied stuff you get, i have got a reply from the Dept of health though, this is what they said about abuse of the elderly and filthy dirty hospitals.

Our ref: DE00000220799

Dear Mr Rhodes,

Thank you for your email of 5 July to Alan Johnson about hospital cleanliness. Unfortunately, due to the amount of correspondence he receives and his daily commitments, Mr Johnson is unable to respond personally. Your email has been passed to me for reply.

I can assure you that tackling healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) is a key commitment for both the Department and the NHS, and is one of four top priorities in the NHS Operating Framework for 2007-08. A target to halve the number of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections by 2008 is in place and each Trust has its own target. The Framework also requires Primary Care Trusts and providers to engage with clinicians and agree local targets for a significant reduction in Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs).

The Department’s MRSA Improvement Team has been providing tailored support to the Trusts with the most challenging targets, and this model of tailored support is now being expanded to include CDIs. Ministers recently committed to doubling the size of the team, so that any Trust not on course to meet its target will have access to expert guidance. Additionally, £50million of extra revenue funding is now being made available to tackle HCAIs, with £5million allocated to each Strategic Health Authority’s Director of Nursing, who will work with local Trusts, enabling frontline clinicians to make changes to help them in the fight against HCAIs. This is in addition to the £50million made available last year through the Capital Challenge Fund to enable acute Trusts to tackle infections through infrastructure improvements.

The Department is determined to ensure that the hospitals in which patients are treated are of a high standard, with well-trained and highly motivated staff, and that the environment in which patients are treated is safe. Unfortunately, not all HCAIs are preventable, and many factors contribute to the problem. For example, more patients who are susceptible to HCAIs are being treated than ever before, such as patients with severe and chronic diseases. Advances in treatments that improve patient survival can, at the same time, leave them more vulnerable to infections. However, many cases can be avoided and the Department is working with the NHS to minimise infections through better practice in infection prevention and control, and improved application of existing knowledge and practices.

Control of infections in healthcare premises is complex and affected by factors such as the number and type of patients treated, the use of invasive devices and appropriate prescribing. Cleanliness contributes to infection control, but preventing infections requires more that simply improving cleaning methods. The Department has therefore developed a wide-ranging programme, working with partner organisations on a range of mutually reinforcing activities and policies to ensure that best practice to reduce HCAIs is embedded in everyday procedures. The key activities over the past year include:
implementing a programme of targeted support and performance management for the NHS Trusts with the most challenging rates of MRSA infection;

continued development of the Saving Lives toolkit – an evidence-based delivery programme for best practice based on a small number of high impact interventions, which all acute NHS Trusts are now implementing;

publication of enhanced advice on the screening of at risk patients prior to their admission;

publication of a root cause analysis tool to help Trusts investigate and better understand how and why MRSA bloodstream infections occur; and

publication of toolkits focusing on specific aspects of care, including Safer Practice in Renal Medicine and Infection Prevention and Control in Adult Critical Care: Reducing the Risk of Infection Through Best Practice.
I should also emphasise the role of the statutory Code of Practice for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections. The Code came into force in October last year and requires NHS bodies to have appropriate management and clinical governance systems in place to deliver effective infection control. Over the next year, the Healthcare Commission will be carrying out around 120 unannounced inspections of cleanliness standards and infection control procedures in NHS Trusts. Under the Code, the Commission has the power to issue improvement notices to Trusts that fail to meet the required standards. These rigorous checks will ensure that Trusts adhere to the Code and will help give patients the assurance that everything possible is being done to keep HCAIs to a minimum.

In addition, since September 2004 the Department has, in conjunction with the National Patient Safety Agency, been implementing what is believed to be the first national hand hygiene campaign. All acute Trusts have joined the campaign and the focus is now extending the campaign beyond acute hospitals.

Ministers are committed to being completely open with the public about this issue and the facts about the level of MRSA infections in every acute NHS Trust since 2001 are published on the Department of Health website at: www.dh.gov.uk (type 'MRSA rates' into the search bar for further information). This Government was the first to introduce a mandatory surveillance reporting scheme on HCAIs and to publish the results, starting with MRSA bloodstream infections. This information is now being used to drive down infection rates and can inform people’s choice of hospital. The Department has since extended this scheme to cover other infections, such as CDIs.

Turning to your concerns about the abuse of older people, I can assure you that the Government deplores the abuse of vulnerable or older people in all its forms and is determined to eradicate it. Older people have the same rights as everyone else, including the right to be treated with dignity and respect wherever they live.

The Government has set national standards for treatment and care within the NHS, care homes and in the area of domiciliary care. The Department has set up independent regulators, the Healthcare Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), and have given them the powers they need to ensure services meet the standards required. The Department has issued guidance to councils that provides a framework for working with the police, the NHS and other partners to tackle and prevent abuse.

Staff who provide personal care to older people in their own homes or in care homes are subject to statutory safeguards, including Criminal Records Bureau checks and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) scheme. The POVA list is a means of ensuring that people who have abused or mistreated vulnerable adults in their care do not find their way back into such positions again. On 31 January this year, a total of 5,960 people had been referred to the list.

On 8 November 2006, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act received Royal Assent. The Act lays the foundation for a new vetting and barring scheme, which has been developed by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills, following the Bichard Inquiry Report. The new scheme will be phased in from autumn 2008.

The new scheme will build on existing pre-employment checks, extend coverage and draw on wider sources of information to provide a more comprehensive and consistent measure of protection for vulnerable groups across social care, the NHS and beyond. It will be proactive, with vetting taking place on a person’s first application to work with vulnerable groups. Information held by the scheme will be continuously updated. This will make it far more difficult for abusers to gain access to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Corbett
Customer Service Centre
Tonyxx Image
Interesting reply Tony, let's just see if they can deliver their targets Image

Paula xx
I phoned up the Dept of Health and had a blazing row with them, they say that all elderly people have the same rights no matter where they live, that is untrue but they did not believe me, the human rights Act only comes into play for council run carehomes not private run ones.

Tonyxx Image