NHS bed blocking costs £550 per MINUTE says charity

“Bed blocking because of a lack of social care availability is costing the NHS an “eye-watering” £550 per minute, according to research by a charity released today. This equates to £290m a year, Age UK has estimated.

Analysis by the charity also showed that in just two years, the number of older people in England living with an unmet care need has risen by 19%, which translates to 1.4 million over 65s living with unmet care needs

More than 300,000 need help with three or more essential daily tasks like getting out of bed, going to the toilet or getting dressed, the charity found, and of this 165,000 receive no help whatsoever from paid carers, family members or friends.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “The numbers of delayed discharges to a lack of social care are actually going down, but a lack of social care still costs the NHS an eye-watering £500 every minute – not to mention undermining the chances of older people making a full recovery if they are unnecessarily stuck in hospital for weeks or longer.”

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “People’s unmet care needs will continue to increase and deepen the crisis in adult social care unless the sector receives a long-term funding settlement, like the NHS, and further funding is made available for council’s public health and prevention services.

“To prevent crises in the NHS, government needs to plug the £3.5bn funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 and reverse the £600m in reductions to councils’ public health grants between 2015-16 and 2019-20.”

Age UK noted that between 2009-10 and 2016-17 spending on adult social care in England fell by 8% in real terms. As a result, in the same period, the average spend per adult on social care fell by 13%, from £430 to £379.

Alex Khaldi, head of social care insights at Grant Thornton, said: “Funding is not the only answer, councils need to focus on monitoring the level of unmet need in their areas more effectively. “If we are to exercise place-based leadership in social care, better data insight that allows councils to identify where and why people have fallen between the cracks is urgently needed.”

The LGA has announced that it would be publishing its own adult social care green paper, after Jeremy Hunt announced the government green paper would be delayed until autumn.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We expect the NHS to work closely with local authorities to ensure people are treated in the most suitable setting and when they are discharged from hospital they have a care plan in place.”


New housing minister was Deputy Leader of Westminster council – wanted police to hose homeless off wealthy streets

“Theresa May’s new Housing Minister boasted how he pioneered council policy to make life “more uncomfortable” for rough sleepers.

Kit Malthouse, a key Boris Johnson ally, was moved into the frontbench role after the Foreign Secretary followed Brexit Secretary David Davis in resigning over May’s EU exit strategy on Monday.

Key parts of Malthouse’s role will be to grapple with the country’s housing crisis and to cut homelessness, which has doubled since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

But, as deputy leader of Westminster Council in 2004, he operated a hostile “zero tolerance” drive by the local authority to move homeless people on from the wealthy area’s streets.

One particular tactic saw police officers ask rough sleepers to shift their beds so street cleaners could hose the area. …”

Source: Huffington Post:

Swire tells us to “strap ourselves in” …

Swire’s advice to us in his Twitter post?

“Turbulent times! And more ahead! Strap yourselves in!”

Unfortunately it was followed by several replies on the lines of:

  • your lot caused it so why crow about it;
  • not a good example if “strong and stable”; and
  • when can we look forward to your resignation

Rather backfired …. seems to be catching.

With Raab’s promotion to Brexit Minister housing will get its eighth minister in 8 years

“Theresa May’s pledge to “fix the broken housing market” lies in tatters after she left herself scrambling to find the eighth Tory housing minister in eight years.

The Prime Minister promoted Dominic Raab to be Brexit Secretary after he spent just six months in the job.

The vacancy means the government is having to find its third housing minister since the Grenfell Tower disaster only 13 months ago.

Mr Raab’s replacement will be fifth person to hold the role since 2015 and the eighth since 2010.

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey slammed Tory ministers.

He said: “Dominic Raab’s move means that Theresa May is on her fourth housing minister in just two years as Prime Minister. …

… Mrs May declared it was her “personal mission” to fix the housing crisis and pledged to build 300,000 homes a year overall by the mid-2020s.

But just 39,350 homes started being built in the three months to March – a fall of 8% on a year earlier. …”


New all-party push for proportional representation

This week is the first National Democracy Week – a rare moment to put the ‘nuts and bolts’ of democracy on the agenda.

The elections of the past year have shown that Westminster’s First Past the Post system is failing at the lowest democratic hurdle – allowing everyone to participate equally in our politics.

One in five people felt forced to ‘hold their nose’ and opt for a lesser evil rather than their preferred candidate in 2017’s General Election.

68% of votes had no impact on the result – going to either unsuccessful candidates or being ‘surplus to requirements’. Under the Westminster’s system, all that is required for victory is a majority of one.

And the system is exaggerating divisions in the UK – Labour secured 29% of the vote in the South East but got just 10% of seats, while the Conservatives won 34% of the North East vote but got just 9% of seats.

This isn’t some anomaly – this is built into a stone-age system where having one more cross in the box than the rest is all that counts: every other vote goes to waste.

But Westminster’s system can’t even do what it says on the tin – produce ‘strong’ single-party government. The Conservatives were required to make an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to ensure it could govern with any degree of reliability.

These serious flaws in the Westminster system are why today, during the first National Democracy Week, we are marking the relaunch of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Proportional Representation.

This will see MPs from across the political spectrum meet to support a change in the voting system – to one which better matches seats in the House of Commons to how people actually voted.

It will be chaired by Labour MP Daniel Zeichner, joined by Martyn Day MP (SNP), Wera Hobhouse MP (Liberal Democrat), Jeremy Lefroy MP (Conservative), Caroline Lucas MP (Green), Lord Warner (Crossbench) and Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru) as Vice-Chairs. This is a powerful cross-party coalition for change.

We know that while the existing Westminster system may be all that many voters in England have ever known, it is far from the only way. There are much better options.

Every new democratic institution created in the past two decades has, in fact, rejected First Past The Post. Voters in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (and indeed, in most modern democracies) are all used to more proportional systems – seeing their voices properly and fairly reflected in the corridors of power, and with seats matching votes. (For more information on the alternatives see here)

Yet Westminster’s creaking voting system is stuck in the dark ages.

National Democracy Week has been launched with the noble intention that “regardless of who we are or where we are from, we must work together to ensure that every member of society has an equal chance to participate in our democracy and to have their say.”

Let us recognise that the ‘one-party-takes-all’ system does not achieve this. It was designed for another age – and doesn’t work today.

Let’s move towards a democratic system built for our time: where everyone’s voice is heard. That, surely, would be fitting progress to mark the first National Democracy Week.”


Carillion and outsourcing: Cost versus accountability and loyalty

“The collapse of Carillion has exposed “fundamental flaws” in government outsourcing, which is obsessed with costs and is damaging public services, a review by the Commons public administration committee has found.

Carillion, a private construction company, that was one of the government’s biggest contractors, collapsed in January, raising fears about the future of hundreds of its projects for HS2, schools, prisons, the NHS and the armed forces, and 20,000 UK jobs.

The government refused to bail out Carillion but said that it would provide the funding to maintain all of the company’s public services when it went into liquidation. Its failure revived a crisis of confidence in government’s reliance on the private sector to deliver public projects and shone a spotlight on the efficiency of government spending on private firms. The government spends £251.5 billion a year on outsourcing.

That spending has been criticised as unclear and ineffective by the public administration and constitutional affairs committee in a report into government outsourcing released today. “It is unclear how and why the government decides whether to outsource a particular service. The government needs to move quickly to improve public confidence in the competence of its commercial abilities,” the parliamentary report said.

The committee, which is chaired by Sir Bernard Jenkin, has called on government to provide greater transparency on how it awards public sector contracts after it discovered deals had been done based on incorrect data.

It found that the government has had to renegotiate more than £120 million of contracts since 2016 to ensure public services would continue after initially pushing providers to offer unsustainable prices.

Sir Bernard accused the government of using “thin or non-existent” evidence to support decisions to outsource contracts and said it did not understand the risks it was pushing on to contractors. “It has accepted bids below what it costs to provide the service, so the contract has had to be renegotiated,” he said. “The Carillion crisis was well-managed, but it could happen again unless lessons are learnt about risk and contract management.” In its report, the committee accused the government of prioritising spending as little money as possible while forcing contractors to take “unacceptable” levels of financial risk.

“Ultimately this has led to worse public services as companies have been sent a clear signal that cost, rather than quality of services, is the government’s consistent priority,” it said.

The report questioned the rationale behind the belief that outsourcing provides a better service for less public money and said that ministers could not provide evidence that this was true.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said that the government had announced a wide package of measures to further improve how it works with its vendors.

“This includes extending the requirements of the Social Value Act in central government to ensure all major procurements explicitly evaluate social value where appropriate, consulting on improvements to the prompt payment code, as well as measures to make the outsourcing process more robust and the results more transparent.

“We will respond formally to this report in due course.”

Source: Times (pay wall)