Letter from Budapest

Ágnes Turnpenny is a Research Associate at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. (564 words)

On March 13-14 I attended the conference Social and Technological Innovations – The Participation of Persons with Disabilities during the Hungarian presidency of the Visegrad Group. The Visegrad Group (or V4) is an intergovernmental cooperation between Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Originally established after the fall of the iron curtain in 1991, it aims to promote cooperation and mutual learning based on shared legacies and common challenges in the context of political and socio-economic transformation. An important milestone was reached when the V4 countries (alongside four other post-communist countries) joined the European Union in 2004. In recent years the emphasis on ‘shared values’ has become stronger as the four countries have shifted towards more populist or openly authoritarian regimes. Continue reading

Gambling: legitimate leisure or escalating public health issue?

Caroline NorrieSCWRU Researcher, Caroline Norrie, reports on a NatCen-hosted debate about whether gambling should be treated as a public health issue. (1,335 words)

Researchers, industry and government representatives, LA staff and gambling-support organisation workers gathered to debate whether gambling is a legitimate entertainment activity or an escalating public health danger on 7 March 2018 at the NatCen (National Centre for Social Research) offices in London.

Opportunities to gamble have burgeoned in England since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 (implemented in 2007). Industry de-regulation combined with technological advances have triggered an explosion of new online and offline gambling products which has been accompanied by widespread cross-media advertising. Continue reading

Improving care for people with Parkinson’s through learning

Fiona Barrett is the Education Programme Manager at Parkinson’s UK. The charity works alongside health and care professionals in the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network to provide resources and learning to drive improvements in the care of people with Parkinson’s. (500 words)

With the recent publication of the updated Parkinson’s NICE guideline and quality standard, it’s a great time to highlight some of the learning we provide to help health and social care professionals improve the quality of care they offer to people with Parkinson’s. Continue reading

CQC emphasises the importance of human rights for high quality care home services

Caroline Green is a PhD student at King’s College London. (362 words)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), England’s care service regulator and quality inspector, is emphasising the centrality of human rights and equality when providing high quality care in care homes and other care services. Human rights are the rights we all have because we are human beings. They are legally enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s Inspector-in-Chief, recently explained at CQC’s Human Rights and Equality Conference in February 2018 what role human rights play for CQC’s regulation and inspection of care homes. She said, ‘Human rights thread through all our key-lines of enquiry. It informs the judgement that we make when inspecting care services and is one way that the CQC can emphasise the importance of human rights, raise the profile and make sure that the people are being treated the way that they should.’ Continue reading

Day three of the 2018 International Gambling Conference, Auckland, New Zealand

Researcher Stephanie Bramley from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London attended the 2018 International Gambling Conference, held from 12 February to 14 February. This is the last of three posts from the conference. (306 words)

Day three of the International Gambling Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, began with an Asian welcome ahead of the forthcoming Chinese New Year celebrations.

Today’s keynote address was given by Prof. Samson Tse (University of Hong Kong).  Samson spoke about Chinese migrants’ gambling behaviour and suggested that loneliness (including feeling marginalised and restless) and the concept of ‘losing face’ (in relation to perceived status, privilege and pride) may be related to such behaviour.  Samson thought that there is a need for ‘disruptive innovations’ in order to ‘flip the iceberg’ and called for strong programmes to reduce stigma; treating the whole person; supporting family and affected others; and peer support interventions.  Samson encourage attendees to ‘act locally, think globally’ so as to address gambling-related harm. Continue reading

Day two of the 2018 International Gambling Conference, Auckland, New Zealand

Researcher Stephanie Bramley from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London attended the 2018 International Gambling Conference held from 12 February to 14 February. This is the second of three posts Stephanie is filing from the conference. (326 words)

Day two of the International Gambling Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, began with a Pacific welcome from the Dominion Road Tongan Methodist Church Youth Group.  The group performed a song whose message was to ‘say no to gambling, yes to family’.

The day’s keynote address was given by Prof. Rebecca Cassidy (Goldsmiths, University of London). Rebecca shared research that she had conducted in London betting shops. She had trained as a cashier and worked in two betting shops for 6 months. During that time she heard about cases of violence, armed robbery and the potential dangers faced by betting shops staff who sometimes work alone. However, such incidents were rarely reported to police, and staff were often not offered any support or counselling. Continue reading

Flipping the iceberg on gambling harm, mental health and co-existing issues – at the 2018 International Gambling Conference in Auckland, New Zealand

Researcher Stephanie Bramley from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London attended the 2018 International Gambling Conference on Monday 12 February to Wednesday 14 February 2018. This is the first of three posts from the conference. (784 words)

This biennial event was held at the Auckland University of Technology and was an informative three-day conference, this year focusing on flipping the iceberg on gambling-related harm, mental health and co-existing issues. In this blog post I report on day one’s content.

Attendees were encouraged to “join the family” and embrace the notion of family during the conference. The conference was opened by Mana Whenua Matua Bob Hawke who gave us a Maori welcome before Paula Snowden, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand, welcomed delegates. Continue reading

Social care recruitment and retention – the sector speaks

Facing the facts, shaping the future, the Department of Health & Social Care and Skills for Care adult social care workforce consultation, focuses on a number of workforce challenges specific to the adult social care sector: attracting and recruiting into the workforce; improving retention; how to improve professional development; the role of regulation, and ensuring effective workforce planning. The consultation runs from 20 February to 9 April 2018. 

In light of the launch of this consultation we are re-posting this recent piece by Jo Moriarty, Jill Manthorpe and Jess Harris in which the authors introduce their report on the topic (first published 1 February 2018). (663 words)

Recruitment and retention reportHigh turnover rates among people working in social care are troubling. Both getting and keeping staff are difficult. Experts often talk about what needs to be done to make sure that the right people with the right values are there to support people needing care. New insights into possible solutions to care recruitment and retention problems are reported today in a report from King’s College London. The researchers turned to the workforce themselves to ask what needs to be done. One hundred and forty people working in different jobs or with different experiences of social care discussed what needs to change in areas such as pay, competition between employers, and work pressures. Subjects covered included better organisation of locum working, ensuring zero hours contracts are fair, and that people who are part of the ‘gig economy’, where people are called on to work only when necessary, enjoy this flexibility rather than find it anxiety-making. Continue reading

Campaigning for more Dementia Care at Home – a carer’s call

U Hla Htay is a former carer of his wife with dementia. Email: uhlahtay9@gmail.com (964 words)

I am involved in many research studies as someone with experience as a family carer. In this role I have come to understand that practitioners in health and social care can limit some of the negative effects of family caregiving on carers’ health. Some of them can use interventions such as therapy to increase family carers’ physical health and spiritual well-being. Improving carer well-being and increasing our ability to care for our family members is likely to increase quality of life for both carers and our family member (World Health Organization, 2012).

Mittelman and colleagues (2007) found managing the care of a relative with dementia is very lonely, time consuming and difficult, nevertheless, most of the family members they interviewed said they would prefer to keep their spouses at home with them for as long as possible. In my view the quality of life of both someone with dementia and family carers is generally better at home. These aspirations are achievable but come with a cost in human terms and financial terms. Most people with dementia want to remain living independently in their own homes as long as possible and to have a good quality of life and end of life. I am pleased to be supporting the new NIDUS (New Intervention for independence in Dementia) Study (being conducted by Claudia Cooper and colleagues) which is being funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.¹ The Social Care Workforce Research Unit is a partner in this study with other universities. Continue reading

“Not good enough, CQC”

John Burton, a social care consultant and writer, gives his personal response to the recent Safeguarding Adults Review on Mendip House. John is the author of Leading Good Care, JKP, 2015 and What’s wrong with CQC?, Centre for Welfare Reform, 2017. (973 words)

I’ve been reading the safeguarding review of Mendip House, a care home for adults with autism in Somerset. (Safeguarding Adults Review. Mendip House by Margaret Flynn, January 2018.) The home was owned and managed by The National Autistic Society (NAS), regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the residents were placed there by local authority commissioners from all over the UK but none from Somerset itself.

Mendip House has been described as “Winterbourne View without the cameras”: a thuggish gang of staff assaulted, taunted, and stole from the residents; managers were weak and complicit. Whistleblowers told the CQC and the senior management of The NAS, but—as at Winterbourne View—they were repeatedly ignored or fobbed off. The NAS made ineffectual internal investigations but did not alert the CQC or the local safeguarding service as they should have done. The placing authorities failed to monitor the care, safety and welfare of their residents, or whether the high fees were value for money. Whistleblowers left while the perpetrators of the abuse were ticked off but remained in post. In other words, no one did their job properly or considered the residents who remained at the mercy of a horrible regime. Continue reading