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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2003): Social Care - UK

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE IN PARTNERSHIP: ESTABLISHING THE SCIE PARTNERS' COUNCIL: PROPOSALS FOR CONSULTATION

Social Care Institute for Excellence

London: 2002 (Consultation documents; 1)

Plans for setting up a Partners Council are issued for consultation. The role of the Partners Council is to enable service users, carers and other stakeholders to influence SCIE's priorities, advise on its work programme, and monitor its performance.

CARE HOME RESIDENTS TO GET FUNDING INCREASE

B Hunt

Financial Times, December 27th 2002, p.2

Care home residents will be entitled to increased funding for nursing care next year. The National Health Service is to lift its weekly contributions, which fall into three bands determined by clinical need, from £35 to £40 for those requiring the lowest level of care and from £70 to £75 and from £110 to £120 for those in greater need.

CHOICES, POLICY LOGICS AND PROBLEMS IN THE DESIGN OF LONG-TERM CARE SYSTEMS

N Ikegami and J Creighton Campbell

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 36, 2002, p.719-734

Paper provides a rationale for establishing an independent, mainly community-based long-term care system separate from medical care and social services. Such a system could be financed from general taxation or by social insurance. Goes on to consider the practical issues of coverage, fairness, form of benefits, service delivery patterns, relationship with medical and social services and controlling costs.

CODE OF PRACTICE FOR EMPLOYERS OF SOCIAL CARE WORKERS

General Social Care Council

London: 2002

Code requires employers to:

  • make sure that people entering the social care workforce are suitable and understand their roles and responsibilities;
  • have written policies and procedures in place;
  • provide training and development opportunities;
  • promote the code of practice to social care workers, service users and carers.

DELAYED DISCHARGES

Anon.

Registered Homes and Services, vol. 7, 2002, p.98-99

The Community Care (Delayed Discharges, etc) Bill makes provision for Social Services to make payments in cases where the discharge of patients from hospital is delayed due to failures in the provision of community care services. Article summarises comment from various interested parties.

DO NEW STAR RATINGS REFLECT SYSTEM FAULTS RATHER THAN SERVICE CHANGES?

L Revans

Community Care, Nov 21st-27th 2002, p.18-19

Revised star ratings for English social services departments have been issued. Apparent improvements in performance may be due to better understanding of the statistics required and correction of previous errors in the data. Similarly, loss of a star may be due to a single error or oversight. Calls for data collection to be standardised to enable fair comparisons of social services departments' performance.

DOOMED TO DROP OUT?

H Keville

Community Care, Nov 28th-Dec 4th 2002, p.36-37

Discusses why a significant minority of trainees drop out of Part 1 of the post-qualifying award in social work. Research has identified two main difficulties:

  • lack of confidence in study skills;
  • specific learning needs such as dyslexia.

INCENTIVES TO IMPROVE: FREEDOMS FOR SOCIAL SERVICES

[Social Care Group, Department of Health]

2002

Summarises freedoms from central control available to the best performing local authorities with social services responsibilities. These include increased discretion in the use of centrally provided grant funds, and reduced levels of inspection and monitoring.

INFECTION CONTROL STANDARDS FOR ADULT CARE HOMES: A CONSULTATION

NHS Scotland

Edinburgh: TSO, 2002

Document considers the need for, and nature of, national infection control standards for adult care homes in Scotland. The twelve proposed standards cover accountability mechanisms, policies, procedures and guidance, training, monitoring and review, the practice of hand hygiene, and cleaning.

LAST CHANCE SALOON

R Winchester

Community Care, Nov 21st-27th 2002, p.32-33

Recent joint reviews and inspections have revealed serious failures in Welsh social services departments. The Assembly has responded by increasing Welsh Authorities' "ability to spend" on social services by £230m a year in cash terms by 2005-06. Unfortunately this money is not ring-fenced and spending is weighted to the second and third year of the planning cycle.

MISSING THE TARGET

N Miller

Community Care, Nov 21st-27th 2002, p.36-38

Performance indicators for social services departments at present do not assess how far services cover the actual numbers of people in need in any council's population. They simply measure what is being done for people actually in receipt of services. A second set of indicators measure prospects for improvement in services. These are based on possibly optimistic self assessments by councils. There are also tensions between targets: the need to avoid overspending can conflict with the need to improve services.

NO GREY AREAS

M Henwood

Health Service Journal, vol. 112, Dec 12th 2002, p.24-27

Government policy on the future of long-term care is unclear. The debate has been narrowly focused on home closures and users' interests have been marginalised. The government's retreat on enforcement of environmental standards in care homes gave the impression that the interests of owners, rather than those of residents, were being protected. Experience in Scandinavia suggests that more intensive home support could lessen reliance on residential services.

PROPOSED CHANGES TO RESIDENTIAL CARE CHARGES FROM 7 APRIL 2003

Department of Health

London: 2002

Consultation on various changes to the financial assessment for residential accommodation scheduled to take effect from April 2003, including increasing the personal expenses allowance and the capital limits.

RESIDENTIAL FAMILY CENTRES: NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS [AND] RESIDENTIAL FAMILY CENTRES REGULATIONS

Department of Health

2002

Standards are applicable from April 2003 and cover:

  • quality of care;
  • parents' and children's rights;
  • child and adult protection;
  • staffing;
  • environmental standards;
  • management.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: IS A CRISIS IN CARE STILL LOOMING?

J Robinson

London: King's Fund, 2002

Argues that recent improvements in the funding of social care have been reactions to NHS bed blocking problems, with short-term solutions focused on care home fees and community services. There are no signs of redress of the historic imbalance between health and social care funding, which is resulting in a lack of good quality care services. Calls for a radical review of the public funding of care services and for the pay and status of care workers to be improved to attract more recruits.

VOICE OF EXPERIENCE

N Valios

Community Care, Nov 28th-Dec 4th 2002, p.26-27

Discusses the advantages of the involvement of service users and lay assessors in social services inspection teams.

WRONG REMEDY?

J Glasby

Community Care, Dec 5th-11th 2002, p.36-37

Presents results of a survey of opinion amongst senior health and social care managers about plans to fine social services departments for delayed discharges from hospital. There are concerns that the system would be costly to administer, and that it would inhibit partnership working, encourage premature discharge, and divert resources from cash strapped social services departments.

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