Coronavirus Bill: health & care practitioners

The Coronavirus Bill announced yesterday will introduce a number of emergency measures to respond to the continuing spread of COVID-19 and the increasing pressures on the provisions of care and services.

The bill addresses a number of areas relevant to health and care practitioners, including the following:

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Carers UK highlight contribution made by women to the unpaid care sector on International Women’s Day

It’s well recognised that the social care sector in the UK is struggling under financial constraints and lack of resources mean that claims against homes and care providers are more likely.  Yesterday (8 March 2020) was International Women’s Day.  Carers UK, which is a UK based charity that supports unpaid carers, published an article highlighting 10 facts about the role women play in unpaid care.

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Guidance issued by public bodies for social care providers on Coronavirus

Guidance has been issued today to Social Care stakeholders regarding the Coronavirus/Covid19.

Many social care clients and residents will be elderly or medically vulnerable, thus deemed the most at risk from Coronavirus.

The CQC notes that it will seek to focus its activity on where there is the greatest risk to quality of care, as well as being flexible in terms of preparation and requirements for inspections.  In some cases inspections may be postponed at short notice.

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With a conservative victory in the 2019 General Election, what impact will Brexit have on the UK’s care industry and its diverse workforce?

The impact of Brexit on key employment legislation

The impact of a conservative victory and the UK’s imminent exit from the EU could have major implications for health and social care industry. Care organisations are diverse employers. The care industry in the UK employs around 1.35 million people, and 7% of those are from EU countries. While only 1% of UK nationals employed in care have university degrees, 15% of EU care workers are degree qualified.

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NHS up for sale… or already sold?

One of the key issues to arise in campaigning for this month’s UK General Election is the future of the NHS and the role that private companies, in particular US-based healthcare companies, might play in that future following Brexit.  Last week, the Labour leader Jeremy Corybn claimed papers he had obtained showed that the NHS was “up for sale”.  This has been denied by the Conservatives.

Figures show that private businesses already have a significant interest in NHS healthcare and services and were awarded almost £15 billion in NHS contracts in the last five years. Additionally, NHS mental health services are dominated by private equity firms which are now estimated to provide nearly 25% of NHS mental health residential places.  The Independent today highlights this issue and in particular the huge financial interests of three private equity firms Acadia, Cygnet and Elysium that have invested significantly in British public healthcare services, in particular in the psychiatric/mental health residential areas.

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Reviewing the case:  The right to appeal in adult social care

The charity, Independent Age, which provides advice and support for persons in older age, has produced a report calling for changes in the way adults can challenge decisions about their care.  The report highlights the fact there is no statutory process of appeals, and it is for councils to put in place separate appeals processes on a local basis, if they chose to do so. Presently, there is a statutory complaints process via a complaint to the council, which can be followed by a complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in the event of an unsatisfactory result, but this process is slow and with strict criteria.

The government consulted on a statutory appeals process in 2015, but since then has taken no further action.  The Independent Age report calls on the government to revisit this issue, and sets out how it assumes such a process could work in practice.

With the care sector generally being seen as fragile and under pressure, it seems inevitable that bodies such as Independent Age are calling for a clearer way for service users to make changes in their social care provision.  If there is a clearer and easier way for service users to appeal against the care provided, then it does seem foreseeable that this could be done in conjunction with claims for personal injury.

A copy of the full report can be found here.


jb-85-1 Written by Jennifer Johnston at BLM

Care home operators under financial pressure

Recent reports in the media suggest severe financial difficulties being suffered by the UK’s care home sector.

The Advinia Group is apparently under scrutiny from the CQC in terms of its cash flow and financial management. Advinia operates 38 homes in England and Scotland including 22 homes that it took over from BUPA in 2018, and is the UK’s 10th largest care home operator.    It has been asked to submit to an independent audit of its finances under the CQC’s market oversight scheme. The Guardian newspaper reported on 6 October that leaked papers it had seen showed Advinia was not generating enough cash to meet capital and interest repayments, and had refused to submit to the independent audit.  The CQC notified local authorities at the end of August of its concerns regarding the Advinia Group.

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