Tag Archives: carers

Time to care

Today’s report about the pressures on unpaid carers presents yet again the huge pressures on carers to underpin the social care system in this country. Unpaid carers need support; they need respite and they need recognition of their own health needs. Often in the day-to-day management of life of the person they care for, their own care needs get overlooked. Without unpaid carers’ huge contribution to supporting our most vulnerable people in society, the social care system could not cope. We need to ensure that carers are supported as they are the backbone of our social care system.

Paid carers can also be vulnerable, with unpaid travel time between clients, low pay and little recognition. Yet these people work with some of the most frail and vulnerable people in society. Often time to care is minimal and the costs of care are tightly controlled so that only the basics are provided. For some older people, their carers may be some of the only outside contact they have with life outside of their homes, yet time for care is rationed.

Everyone recognises times are tough, budgets are small, every penny is squeezed, but isn’t the lack of recognition for both paid carers and unpaid carers shortsighted? Recognition in the short term will mean a better and less crisis-ridden care system in the long term. Giving our carers the time they need to care and to continue caring must be a priority.

The scandal of older people’s “care”

The EHRC has published a shocking report highlighting yet another area of neglect and cuts in levels of service. This time it’s homecare, and reliable reports of people being left in wet and soiled beds for hours on end, waiting for a care worker to arrive and help them – often with just 15 minutes allocated for the work.

The temptation is to blame the care worker, who is surely recruited, trained and paid to ”care” . I have commented, raised concerns, blogged and generally got on my soap box about these issues many times. There are several pertinent points to make:

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Health records and online access

A couple of us attended a meeting the other day in which one of the presentations promoted a pilot scheme to give people access to their GP records online. It sounded great… until we started to think through the potential for abuse. Our questions about security were acknowledged as valid, especially in light of recent failures in the massive NHS IT system developments. But there had clearly been little thought about issues closer to home.

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Oh, the agony of choice…

With personalisation upon us, we’re hearing more about the benefits of the choice it brings. “Choice” is a great word for politicians. “Fair” is another one. “We’re giving you choice” or “a fairer system” may sound great, but because they mean different things to different people, political spin doctors rely on people interpreting them in their own way and then thinking that they’re getting something better. But precisely because these words mean different things to different people, they become meaningless.

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