Stan Burridge is an ex-rough sleeper and an HSCWRU Peer-researcher. He is Director of Expert Focus, a user-led organisation that supports the involvement of people with lived experience in homelessness research and policy. Here, Stan talks to four ex-rough sleepers about their experiences of living through the Coronavirus pandemic. Names of participants have been changed. (1,825 words)
Like everyone one else, I have watched in fear as the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves around the world. In the middle of March, I saw the first glimpse of what appeared to be some good news. Hidden in a small paragraph, in the pages of a tabloid newspaper, a caption read, ‘Homeless people to be moved into hotels’. I questioned if this really could be true. Would every homeless person be given a bed, somewhere warm and a place to hide from the pandemic sweeping the nation? Unbelievably, it wasn’t fiction. When the action began it was swift. There were armies of voluntary sector workers lined up, ready for the task which lay ahead to ‘Test, Triage, Cohort and Treat’. Within days, most were moved from the street. But what is happening to people now they are gone from view? Is life all rosy or are there hidden problems which we are not thinking about, not taking care of? I spoke via telephone to four people with ‘lived experience’ of homelessness about their experiences of the impact of Coronavirus and social distancing. This is what they said.
Jane (living in temporary accommodation) Social distancing means that I am basically on my own all the time now. If I do go out it’s only once a week, maybe twice at a push, to get shopping and my medication. Even then, I am staying as far away from people as I possibly can. I am not talking to anyone when I am out unless I have to. The chemist asked me if I minded him signing my prescription because of the risk of catching the virus, all of the staff have face masks and gloves and there is a plastic screen by the counter. Getting stuff from the shops is getting better this week, but at one point because the supermarket didn’t have any toilet rolls I had to walk to another shop, this was a struggle as I am disabled. It was a worthless walk as they wanted £8.99 for two toilet rolls. How am I supposed to be able to pay those prices for ‘bog roll’ when all I get is benefits? I go out really early, about 6 or 7 in the morning so there is no-one else around. I live in a building with lots of bedsits, and I have to use the lift to get out of my building. If there is someone in the lift, I will wait, I won’t get in the lift with them. Luckily, I am on ‘happy pills’ from my doctor which help a bit, but it is draining, and yesterday I couldn’t even muster up the energy go out and get milk because I am getting more depressed each day. I am far away from anyone I know, feeling totally isolated and if I run out of credit on my phone I don’t know what I would do. I’ve got a key worker who is now on limited hours and when he comes to see me we talk through the closed door; he is on the outside in the corridor. I really trust him, but I can’t talk to him about how I am feeling at the moment because other people can hear, it’s not private. It is simple things like this which people forget. Even though I hate what is happening to me and being alone is really getting me down, it is better than sleeping on the streets again. I have seen a beggar – he had a sign asking people not to give him money but to buy him food. How are homeless people going to get fed if they haven’t got any money? I wonder what will happen to everyone who is now in a hotel; will they just get chucked out again, back to the street? Continue reading
Caroline Green, who is NIHR ARC South London Post-Doctoral Fellow, reflects on the lives of prominent women figures in the health and social care context in South London. (838 words)
International Women’s Day is an annual celebration of the achievements of women and a day to put special emphasis on raising awareness of gender bias and taking action for gender equality. Women contribute significantly to England’s health and adult social care. The adult social care workforce is dominated by women, with 83% of the workforce being female. In 2017, 77% of NHS health workers were women. However, beyond “holding up” England’s health and social care system, women have revolutionized it at many points in time. This blog post looks back at some significant female figures in South London, who have shaped health and social care either directly or indirectly. This list is of course not exhaustive. Countless women with a diversity of backgrounds are driving today’s health and social care provision in South London and have done so for many years. Yet, the stories of the women below offer an indication of the rich female history of health and social care in this part of London:
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
Florence Nightingale is widely considered the founder of modern nursing and a social reformer of health and social care. She first gained prominence as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, looking after wounded soldiers. In 1860, she established the nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world, and now part of King’s College London. Many say that Nightingale here laid the foundation of professional nursing, with the International Nurses Day celebrated annually on her birthday. Nightingale’s social justice work extended to the abolition of prostitution laws, advocating for hunger relief in India and expanding acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce. Continue reading
Richard Griffin MBE,Visiting Senior Research Fellow, King’s Business School, today begins a series of guest posts on the healthcare workforce. He argues that, in the face of the widely acknowledged problem of shortages in this workforce, we should turn to current NHS support staff for part of the solution. (477 words)
Workforce is the biggest challenge facing the NHS. Not only is it short of 50,000 nurses, it also needs more podiatrists, midwives, radiographers and a host of other occupations. Total vacancies are approaching 110,000.
Whilst the government is committed to addressing this shortfall, a key question is – where will all those extra nurses, podiatrists, midwives and radiographers come from? Continue reading
Stephanie Bramley is a Research Associate at the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. (690 words)
Unit researcher Stephanie Bramley attended the Society for the Study of Addiction Annual Conference on 7th and 8th November 2019 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. During the conference Stephanie presented Unit research – Improving understanding of migrant gambling in the UK: Insights from three studies.
Day one of the conference covered a range of topics including the use of medical cannabis in the U.K.; the marketisation of addiction treatment provision; addiction and vulnerable populations; and for the first time a session about gambling addiction. Continue reading
Dr Mary Baginsky
Senior Research Fellow at HSCWRU, Dr Mary Baginsky, reports from a conference that took place in Komotini, Greece,1-3 November. (456 words)
I spent last week in the small Greek city of Komotini which nestles in the foothills of the Rhodope Mountains near to the borders of Turkey and Bulgaria. It has a minority Muslim population, many of whom came from Turkey originally and formed a protected population under the Treaty of Lausanne. They have mostly chosen to stay in Greece through to recent times.
The Democritus University of Thrace was established in July 1973 and is based in Komotini, Greece, with other campuses in Xanthi, Alexandroupoli and Orestiada. The Social Work Department was established in the 1990s. I was invited to contribute to a conference on Social Austerity – Child Protection and Human Rights. Most of the contributions were in Greek with intermittent simultaneous translation. In addition to finding it difficult to concentrate on the translation when animated presenters were more of a draw, the fact that the written programme was all in Greek meant that the subject of each presentation was a surprise. Continue reading
Professor Ruth Harris works in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care at King’s College London. (458 words)
The widespread practice of intentional rounding (IR) in England may not the best way for nurses to deliver care and IR makes a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nursing staff engage with patients. This is the main finding of our study that was commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
Intentional rounding is a protocol of standard regular checks with individual patients at set intervals and was introduced in hospitals in England in 2013 as part of the government’s response to care failures in the NHS, most notably at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust. Continue reading
Kritika Samsi, Research Fellow at the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, introduces the findings from the optimal time study, which she led. (629 words)
Funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research, this 3-year study investigated what (if any) may be an optimal time for people living with dementia to move to a care home.
A literature review, qualitative interviews and a factorial survey were conducted over the course of 3 years to reveal a complexity of findings around what may be seen as an ‘optimal’ time for a care home move. We found that the ‘right time’ for any move was highly individual, contextual and depended on myriad factors other than symptom severity. These include the wellbeing of the person living with dementia, family members’ ability to support them and the type and availability of care home places. Continue reading
Stephanie Bramley is a Research Associate at the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. (982 words)
Unit researcher Stephanie Bramley attended the first Current Advances in Gambling Research 2019 conference on 12th July which was held at the University of East London. The conference was organised by Dr. Steve Sharman and was supported by the Society for the Study of Addiction.
Two keynote addresses were given, one by Prof. Marcantonio Spada and another by Prof. Gerda Reith. There were also invited talks from eight academics with Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE giving the opening and closing addresses.
Henrietta opened the conference with some exciting news as she is intending to develop a National Research Centre in Behavioural Addictions, so watch this space. Following this Prof. Spada (London South Bank University) spoke about the role of metacognitive beliefs in predicting problem gambling. Prof. Spada put forward his view that metacognition was not addressed within cognitive behavioural therapy and that CBT relies on semantic change which could be a factor that leads to relapse, following research studies conducted about anxiety, depression and nicotine. He called for more research with adolescents and relapse prevention in the U.K. following on from studies currently being conducted in Italy. Continue reading
Caroline Norrie, Katharine Orellana and Laura Cole report from BSG 2019. (725 words)
HSCWRU researchers enjoyed two and a half days of stimulating presentations, symposia and keynote speeches at the British Society of Gerontology’s (BSG) 2019 Annual Conference held this year in Liverpool. The 48th BSG annual conference was entitled Resilience and Living Well in Local Communities and took place from 10 to 12th July at the University of Liverpool.
Keynote speakers presented on each day. Professor Gill Windle from Bangor University kicked off the conference with a discussion about resilience in later life – and the uses and abuses of this myth/metaphor/or measure. Professor Frank Oswald from Goethe University in Germany discussed environmental gerontological perspectives and the types of research studies that arise from these approaches. Professor Chris Todd, joint lead of the NIHR Policy Research Unit – Older People and Frailty, discussed his aim of using an ‘equality lens’ in the setting up and undertaking of work in this recently formed team together with Newcastle University and the London School of Economics. Continue reading
Stephen Martineau was at a day conference last week focusing on a new national workforce plan and proposals to introduce AMHP service standards as well as changes to the AMHP competencies. (1,030 words)
Recent empirical research at this Unit on the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) workforce has focused on why so few in the eligible health professions are taking up the role. AMHPs are responsible for organising and undertaking assessments under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) and, where statutory criteria are met, authorising detention under the Act. Traditionally a social worker role (they were formerly known as Approved Social Workers), it has been open to occupational therapists, learning disability and mental health nurses, and psychologists since November 2008. But about a decade since these professionals were enabled to become AMHPs, they still only make up around 5% of the AMHP workforce. Continue reading