What’s going on at BUPA?

February was a busy month for me, and I didn’t get to the keyboard often. So I’m having an office day catching up with this blog.

Fist thing first check on the bad care reports for February

It may take a while, because it looks like there are a lot. Yes CQC are rolling out their new inspection model, yes they have raised the bar, but I don’t see that as an excuse for any responsible provider. Clearly those that are good and outstanding have been rated as such.

So first week in Feb, two BUPA homes in trouble.

What’s that about, when BUPA clearly have resources, don’t they?

I can guess at the answers, having experience of working for large organisations, but I wouldn’t like to post them here without a lot more evidence to back up any claims and avoid a libel case.

So in general my experience in large organisations would suggest that maybe these areas need looking into-

1-Priorities of the organisation. What is the balance between providing good care and making money?

2-Central focus. Does the centre know whats happening on the floor and vice versa?

3-Branding. Are these BUPA homes or homes that BUPA run?

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone has had a happy and restful break. I certainly did, but have had to cram a couple of weeks work into five days in order to catch up!

Hence the lateness of the greeting.

One of the things that makes Christmas for me is the BBC.

It all starts with the Christmas Radio Times, and then Carols From Kings, The Reith lectures, The Royal Society Christmas Lectures and delightfully this year Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens!

The Reith Lectures by Professor Atul Gawande were a huge pleasure this year and I can highly recommend them.

Click here to go the BBC website to listen to them

The first lecture explores the topic of why doctors fail, and explores the factors which affect medicine, Ignorance (lack of knowledge) and Ineptitude (failure to use existing knowledge).

The second lecture is titled the century of the system,  and interestingly describes some simple systems that care and nursing homes would do well to copy.

Lecture three is about the problem of hubris and looks at the issues of aging and death and how society has a problem recognising the limits of what professionals can do.

The final lecture the idea of wellbeing is for me the highlight, and explores ideas around end of life care and assisted dying.

If nothing else, for me, the whole series re enforces the importance of the fact that people providing care need to care. A simple concept,but one that’s often overlooked.

CQC to publish guidance on using CCTV in care homes

There has been a lot of noise about this issue in the press for some time, and last week it blew up again with CQC announcing the possibility of publishing of guidelines on the use of CCTV in care homes.

Here’s the headline from The Daily Mail 6th October:

Families given official green light to spy on care home staff if they fear their elderly relatives are being abused

I think the CQC position is more nuanced than that, but in effect will sanction families and employers using cameras to spot abuse.

I have made my thoughts on this clear several times since it was first mooted. In a nutshell they are-

1-CCTV will not prevent abuse.
2- CCTV is useful in gaining convictions where abuse is suspected.
3-Better recruitment, retention, training and pay will reduce abuse.

My views are echoed elsewhere, The Guardian on the 8th October ran a piece with the title

CCTV in care homes: secret cameras are not the way to improve care

Rather than allow covert filming, the Care Quality Commission should focus on driving up standards

The main thrust of the article is about the underlying causes of bad care, and I would agree, these need to be addressed as opposed to using CCTV to spot the symptoms.

The full article can be found here-


The CQC statement can be found at-


Local Government Ombudsman finds council top up fee policy to be illegal

The subject of third party top up fees is one I’m often asked about.
More often than not the people involved in working out who owes what to who, do not have enough information and experience to work it out correctly.
This story shows how one council got it wrong, by effectively requiring a lady to top up her own fees, which is against the law. (National Assistance Act 1948)
Underpinning the argument here is the basis of funding for health and social care. Health care-Free at the point of delivery. Social care-Means tested. This political hot potato is one that the political parties have been juggling at their conferences in recent months.

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/10/03/ombudsman-criticises-council-forcing-resident-pay-unlawful-care-home-top/ For the full story

http://www.scotting.org for more on paying for care

You and Yours 7th October 2014

You and Yours have been producing some good coverage of the care sector for some time now. I particularly liked todays episode as it repeats one of my key messages to people. Always get good advice when looking for care. Odd to see CQC taking this position, but also refreshing to see them taking a real world view of the whole picture.

How easy did you find it to get good quality care for your elderly parents or relatives? The Care Quality Commission says it is one of the most stressful things we’ll face in life.

We’ll ask why is it so difficult and what can be done to make it better.

Guests will include the Care Quality Commission and Carers UK.

Web users click here for full story

For those reading in print the programme can be found at- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04kbjhx

And don’t forget advice, help and information is available on my website-www.scotting.org

Elderly woman died after suffering burns in nursing home bath

This is a very sad story, and my heart goes out to this ladie’s family.

However I can’t help feeling it further shows up the defficiencies in care and nursing home regulation.

The story has been reported by the Health and Safety Executive, after a now dissolved company was found to be negligent.


The worrying element is that highlighted by the magistrate. The directors of the company have walked away from this with a £5,000 fine. Which may or may not be paid by the company, as its now dissolved.

So what is to stop these clearly unsuitable people starting up a new home, if they haven’t already done so?


My Care Service Report and Select-a-Home service will always look into the Directors of care companies and their past. www.scotting.org




Union Supports Poor Care Provision!!!!???

Whilst one has sympathy with the people affected, it’s odd to say the least to see a union taking this stance. In effect asking CQC not to close a home providing poor quality care.

Surely they should be supporting their people, who have been part of the failed service, to find other employment?


Is it me?



Cottage Hospitals, The Return

It’s true! if you stand in one place long enough, (metaphorically in health and social care), things come round again.

For all of my career cottage hospitals were being closed left, right and center. By the NHS under governments of all colours.

So I was surprised this morning to hear that in an Interview with The Telegraph, the new Chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens, is advocating treatment in local communities.

Is this a good thing?

Yes- Older people could benefit from local acre in smaller units with less emphasis on Delayed Discharge. Older peoples care could return to the NHS, rather than being outsourced.

No-Who is going to provide these units? I’m betting on the private sector, and we all know what the profit motive does to patient care.

Maybe-I will wait to see one in the flesh before I make my mind up.

For the full story:



National Care Homes Open Day

I’m not a fan of care home open days, it all seems a bit Victorian Voyeur to me.

This initiative has some good aims at heart. Opening homes to be part of the community and getting people involved.

However it does seem by look of some of the big firm sign ups, that it’s become a marketing exercise.

Let’s hope it doesn’t.

And of course if you are looking for a home it’s a great chance to have a thorough look around and talk to folks before deciding.

One would also hope that CQC have boots on the ground.

Regardless of my reservations, inviting local communities into homes does provide opportunities. Reducing isolation and institutionalisation being two. Opportunities for local volunteers to get involved in activity in the home, for the dual benefits of themselves and the residents.

I’m going to sign up as a member of the public and see what happens, watch this space.


The Bad

I started this business to help people to find good quality care. Having worked in care for twenty eight years I think I know how to find good care and spot the bad.

I don’t want to frighten people or be alarmist, my priorities are-

1-Help people to find good care

2-Help people to get value for money

3-Help families to have peace of mind.

To ensure I am up to date I keep a weather eye on the news, and sadly there is usually at least one bad care story a day.

I know the press, led by the Daily Mail and The Telegraph, love a bad care story. I do filter out some of the weaker ones. I’m afraid this still leaves too many.

If you would like to keep up to date, I list them on my page-


Please don’t lose sleep, good quality care is out there and I can help you to find it.


Or free phone 0800 0016694