Norman Lamb MP’s Neighbourhood Care is it all that it is cracked up to be

10 days ago I read the following article and immidiately saw issue with it and decided to email Norman Lamb to claify a few issues in that article.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/liberaldemocrats/10316382/Cheer-up-elderly-and-ease-pressure-on-NHS-says-Norman-Lamb.html

My letter is below:

Dear Mr Lamb

I wish to write to you about the above article as you appear to be devoid of any understanding which by the way is the same for most coalition MP’s
I would now like to rip your article to shreds.
You state that:

Norman Lamb said the elderly are living “miserable” lives and that “companionship” from neighbours could be enough to stop them relying on professional carers.

Mr Lamb, the Liberal Democrat care minister, said earlier this year that Neighbourhood Watch groups should be responsible for providing care to pensioners. He told a fringe meeting at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow: “If you are on your own and you never see anyone from day to day and week to week other than a formal care worker perhaps only for a 15-minute visit in the morning and afternoon, your life is pretty miserable.

Whilst I agree Neighbours could do more in visiting elderly residents it is not so easy as you make it out to be far from it because many neighbours are disconnected from society themselves, have criminal records are poor parents and are not DBS disclosed which is a must and what is to say they will not be abused after all that is in the news a lot lately.

“If you start to get a visit from someone who says, ‘Let’s go out, let’s take you to church, let’s take you to [a football match]’ you give people their lives back. You give them a reason to live again.”

All very well again but has it not crossed you mind many elderly are not fit enough to get out of bed and mobilize, let alone go to a football match  if only every elderly person was as fit as you.

Mr Lamb said local authority finances are under huge pressure because of the growing elderly population.

“As people get their lives back they are less dependent on statutory services to deliver support to them. And so the cost to the local authority starts to reduce.”

Yes the elderly population is growing that is fact and happens as more and more modern technologies come about, which is the human growth, so did that not cross MP’s minds years ago and thus put messures in place before they happen.

Local Authority finances are under pressure for one reason only which is lack of Central Government funding and do not say Government cannot afford to carry supporting our elderly because they can, only last week Mr Cameron publicly stated we are the 6th richest economy.

In July, Mr Lamb said Neighbourhood Watch groups could apply for “care status” and help wash and feed pensioners as well as provide companionship.

That was a bold statement to make indeed knowing full well they are neither trained or CRB checked.

He argued that the way Britain currently treats its pensioners is “uncivilised” and believes that the plans would help to reduce the number of pensioners forced into care homes.

Mr Lamb also confirmed Government plans to prosecute health care providers for neglect and poor care.

“We have endless scandals but despite this there has not been a single prosecution for neglect or poor care since the Care Quality Commission was set up,” he said.

Now you are talking some sense without going off board as the british public have long been calling for action on this front so that history does not repeat itself which could happen if your proposals above are not carefully thought about.

“When I came into my job I had to lead on the government response to Winterbourne View [hospital scandal] and the company could get away with it. We are introducing new fundamental standards so that if you fail to deliver the standards you can be prosecuted straight away.”

The Lib Dems approved a motion aimed at raising the standards of home care for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable.

It sets out plans to ensure patients are treated by the best-trained staff and to prevent abuse, bullying and harassment of home care staff and patients.

This should have been in place a whole lot sooner and you come across as all wind and no fire the winterbourne View atrocities was over a year ago and still nothing has been done with policy.

“We are introducing fundamental care standards and a new chief inspector of care, and improving accountability for care home bosses,” said Mr Lamb.

“I am continuing to challenge providers to get better care whether you are in a hospital, a care home, or your own home.”

I will believe it when I see it Mr Lamb but I do not hold my breath as you have already failed once by not turning up to the mental health watch event.

Regards

Now I live in a neighbourhood area and no consultation on this was given indeed I just drove into my road one day and saw the sign hanging from a lamppost the people in my area do not give two hoots to it and Camerons big society is miles away and quiet frankly would not trust any of them with the care of my elderly mum in law who lives with us especially as they have no specialist training or DBS vetting.

Anyways today I have had a reply to my letter above and no mention is made of the important DBS vetting issue I raised, that letter is below:

Dear Mr Carter,

Thank you for your correspondence of 17 September about comments Norman Lamb made on the care of older people.  I have been asked to reply.

Ministers recognise that many people spend a significant proportion of their lives caring for family members and friends, and there can be no doubt about the value of their contribution both to those who receive care and to the wider community.

Mr Lamb’s comments reflect that society is changing, that many people are now often living a long way away from family and that with the right support, more people could stay in their homes for longer.  The Government’s priority therefore is to ensure that carers can be effectively supported to care and to have a better quality of life.

With regard to Neighbourhood Watch, Mr Lamb’s idea is not to ask Neighbourhood Watch volunteers to undertake social care work, but rather to use the example set by these groups as a model for dealing with loneliness and isolation amongst older and vulnerable people.

Ministers believe that Neighbourhood Watch is an excellent example of people coming together in their area to make it a better place to live.  Ministers are aware that more care of all kinds will be required over the coming decades, with the number of people over 65 set to nearly double to 19 million by 2050.  The Government believes that, unfortunately, in many areas older people have been left living alone, as extended families have dispersed.

Ministers also believe that the formal paid-for system of community care cannot be the only way of keeping people properly looked after.  Adult care services cannot tackle loneliness on their own.  Ministers know that official care can be very good at helping people with daily activities, such as helping them to wash or to prepare food.  However, it is not able to provide the companionship and friendship that people need to avoid feeling lonely.  Ministers feel that sometimes a neighbour visiting a vulnerable person is a better end result than a formal care visit.

The Government knows that many Neighbourhood Watch volunteers already provide help to neighbours – including those who are lonely and isolated − and it is these acts of kindness that it wants to build on.  Ministers want to consider how to use communities’ volunteer action to help provide an extra level of support for older people by encouraging everyone to help avoid leaving people lonely and isolated.

Mr Lamb cited the work of Neighbourhood Watch groups as a grassroots movement to keep an eye on neighbours’ houses and property to guard against crime as a good example of making a difference.  Ministers believe that as this is successful for crime and community safety, it can also be used as a guard against isolation.

Mr Lamb is working with the Cabinet Office Minister Nick Hurd to look at what the Government can do to introduce such a movement, and the Government hopes to announce details later this year.

I note your comments about Winterbourne View.  Mr Lamb published the Department’s final report on Winterbourne View on 10 December.  It sets out how the Government will work together with national and local health and care organisations to address poor care and abuse and to ensure that excellent care becomes the norm.  The report can be found on the Government’s information and advice website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/winterbourne-view-hospital-department-of-health-review-and-response

The report sets out steps to respond to the failings that Winterbourne View brought to light, and to improve care more generally.  While individual members of staff at Winterbourne View have been convicted, ministers believe that this case has revealed weaknesses in the Government’s ability to hold the owners, boards of directors and senior managers of care organisations to account.  The Government believes that this is a gap in the care regulatory framework that it has committed to address.

The Government has set out proposals for consultation to strengthen the accountability of boards of directors and senior managers for the safety and quality of care that their organisations provide.  The Department of Health is seeking views on proposals to hold health and care providers to account where there are serious failures in care.  It proposes that all directors of providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – including NHS hospitals, private hospitals and care homes – must meet a new ‘fit and proper person’ test.  The CQC will be able to insist on the removal of directors that fail this test, and in cases where providers fail in the care that they provide, the CQC will be able to consider the role of the board and individual directors in that failure, with the power to prosecute in the case of serious failure.

The CQC launched its own consultation on 17 June on a new regulatory model that includes developing new fundamental standards as part of the requirements for registration with the CQC.  Ministers believe that this will set in law a clear baseline below which care must not fall, and will allow the CQC to take action against providers that do not meet these standards.

The final report for Winterbourne View Review also sets out a programme of action to transform services, so that people no longer live inappropriately in hospital settings but are cared for in line with best practice, based on their individual needs.  The programme will also ensure that their wishes, and those of their families, are listened to and are at the heart of planning and delivering their care.

A detailed timetable of action is included in the report.  It includes the following measures:

–         by the end of June (2013), all current hospital placements were to be reviewed.  Everyone in hospital inappropriately will move to community-based support as quickly as possible, and no later than June 2014; and

–         by April 2014, each area will have a joint plan to ensure high quality care and support services for all people with learning disabilities or autism and mental health conditions or behaviour described as challenging, in line with best practice.

As a consequence, ministers expect a dramatic reduction in hospital placements for this group of people.

The Government’s commitment to this programme of action is shared by the organisations responsible for delivering change.  A concordat, signed by more than 50 organisations, sets out the specific actions that each organisation will take.  This was published alongside the final report.

NHS England and the Local Government Association are leading a joint improvement programme, with financial support from the Department of Health, to supervise these changes.  Mr Lamb chairs  the Learning Disability Programme Board, which oversees the progress of the programme.  Minutes of the Board’s meetings and other documents can be found on the Government’s information and advice website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/policy-advisory-groups/learning-disability-programme-board

The Winterbourne View Review report focuses on the need for change, but there are places that already get this right.  The Department has published examples of best practice alongside the report.  These show what is possible, and what must be achieved for everyone.

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Myers
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health

So Government Minister believe that by addressing the elderly’s loneliness and isolation by visits from neighboors will reduce hospital visits? how exactly illnesses and disablement do not magically disapear, only specialist doctors and nurses in a chosen field can help with that.

I will of course be writing back for further claification as the response above is more baloney.

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