A hint as to where Devon’s “health service” could be headed

No more prescriptions, instead:

“We are all used to going to the doctor and have them write a prescription for medicine. But what we are less used to is the idea that the doctor or nurse or social worker might give us a prescription for a walking group, soup and sandwiches in the local village hall, an Age UK befriending service.”

Patricia Hewitt, ex-New Labour Blairite MP, privatisation enthusiast and now chair of the Norfolk & Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)


Needless to say, the walking classes which would likely be volunteer run for free, soup and sandwiches in the village hall perhaps provided by the food bank and befriending by an already overstretched and underfunded charity – definitely NOT by her STP!

Conservative county councils warn they can’t afford “dementia tax”

“Conservative council leaders have warned that county councils cannot afford to be hit by a £308m rise in care home costs if controversial social care plans dubbed the “dementia tax” go ahead.

Tory-dominated shire councils have warned they cannot afford the extra burden of the manifesto proposal that would offer state support to people with assets of £100,000 or less – a sharp increase on the current £23,250.

The County Councils Network (CCN), which represents the 37 county councils, said new analysis showed raising the threshold would push far more people into state care than local authorities could fund under current budgets. …”


Is it right for charities to offer services you pay for if the NHS or social care system isn’t picking you up?

Does this let Jeremy Hunt off the hook and allow underfunding to continue? Is it privatisation by stealth or just local people doing good deeds for payment and to be encouraged and applauded?

“Ottery Help Scheme has launched a new chargeable service to offer more support to the community as well secure its future for years to come.

The charity says it is trying to be proactive by running a home services as it currently relies on donations from grants and members of the public. Through home services, user can pay a fee and book a member of the team come out to them. The employed staff will be able to assist with in a range of ways including cleaning, shopping, meal preparation and gardening as well as offering to sit in for carers. This will sit alongside the help scheme’s free or subsidised befriending, memory café and transportation services.

Last year, more than 100 helpers gave up nearly 6,000 hours in the community, with volunteer drivers driving 49,228 miles to take residents to appointments.

Helen Harms, chief officer for the help scheme, said: “The NHS is looking for schemes to help with allowing people to stay in their own home. “We are trying to become self-sufficient, we are trying to provide services which help people stay independent and living in their own homes and provide an income to sustain the help scheme for the future.

“We do really rely on donations and if they one day stopped we would have to fund ourselves. We are being proactive to be self sufficient and not hoping of getting enough donations in, we have been very luck for such a long time and we have been going for 20 years.”

The charity has recently been boosted by the La La Choir, which raised £1,300 at its last concert. It is also being supported by a trio of East Devon law firms throughout October as part of charity will month. Gilbert Stephens, East Devon Law and Christine Ashby, will donate 50 per cent of the service fee to the scheme.

Helen added: “We are so grateful to these local firms for their support over the setting up this scheme to benefit the charity, a 50 per cent donation for their will writing service is a significant contribution.”


“Carers to use Skype calls to check on pensioners”

“Pensioners will be visited via Skype instead of in person in a new trial by Essex County Council and Essex Care Limited. They will be given tablets to communicate with carers, who will talk to them over video link rather than visit them in person.”

Telegraph p8, Mirror p13, Mail p4

So this is the future? Care in the community – whose care, whose community?

“Traditional family doctor could ‘die out’ as soaring workloads and Tory cuts trigger exodus”

Hunt tells GPs it’s up to them to them to find ways of squeezing in an extra hour of appointments into their day.

“Richard Vautrey, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, spoke out after Jeremy Hunt admitted “underinvestment” has made it “much harder” for patients to have one familiar GP.” …

… In his speech Mr Hunt promised £2.4billion for GPs by 2021, announced £20,000 ‘golden hellos’ for 200 rural GPs a year to boost numbers, and pledged a new state-backed scheme to cut soaring indemnity fees.

He also rebooted his pledge to ensure 5,000 more GPs by 2020 – despite numbers falling by 350 since he made it.

But he clashed with GPs by declaring he couldn’t solve the NHS crisis for them.

And he urged surgeries to find ways to “release between 45 and 60 minutes per GP per day” such as holding appointments online.

RCGP chair Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard warned GPs were “knackered”, “at the end of their tether” and facing “burnout”.

[Hunt continued]: “I’m sorry if that’s what you think. But let me be clear.
“I did not say when I was here before that we were going to solve these problems overnight.” He added: “You can make a big difference in your own practices.”


“Jeremy Hunt to pledge £20,000 ‘golden hello’ for rural GPs”

To be offered only to the first 200 applicants. There are nearly 42,000 GPs. Say no more.

“Newly-qualified GPs are to be offered a one-off payment of £20,000 if they start their careers in areas that struggle to attract family doctors.

The £4m scheme, to be announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, aims to boost the numbers of doctors in rural and coastal areas of England.

Mr Hunt said it will help “reduce the pressure” on practices in those areas.
The Royal College of GPs backed the plan, saying there was a “serious shortage” of family doctors.

The one-off payment will be offered to 200 GPs from 2018.

As of September 2016, there were 41,985 GPs in England.

Mr Hunt told the BBC: “What we’re looking to do is to reduce the pressure on those GP practices which are doing a very, very valiant job but can’t look after patients as well as they want to, because they’re finding it hard to recruit.”

The health secretary is due to speak at the Royal College of GPs’ annual conference in Liverpool, where he will offer something for those already in the profession too, by announcing plans for flexible working for older doctors – to encourage them to put off retirement.

He will also confirm plans for an overseas recruitment office which will aim to attract GPs from countries outside Europe to work in England. …”


“Pensioners told homes are not ‘assets to pass on to offspring’ as minister revives dementia tax row”

“Pensioners with care needs must stop regarding their homes as “an asset to give to their offspring”, the social care minister has said, as she revived the row over the Conservatives’ so-called “dementia tax”.

Jackie Doyle-Price said it was “unfair” for younger taxpayers to “prop up people to keep their property” when it could be sold to help pay for their own care needs.

The stark language contrasts with the Tories’ promises last year to make sure that homes people have “worked for and saved for” could be passed on to their children. David Cameron described it at the time as a “natural human instinct”.

The Conservatives shelved a controversial manifesto plan to make middle-class pensioners pay towards care they receive in their own homes after it proved hugely unpopular with voters, but critics said the minister’s comments suggested the policy had been “resurrected”. …”