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27 Jun

Third sector solution to ‘bed blocking’ crisis

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report hit the headlines when it raised the spectre of vulnerable patients being sent home from hospital, alone and helpless, with many unprepared to fend for themselves again following injury or illness. The report pulled no punches.  It said some families had been left ‘devastated’ by the treatment of their relatives.  It found distressing numbers of people were being discharged too soon – or being forced to stay in hospital because there was nowhere else for them to go.  The report blamed poor planning and inadequate communication in terms of admissions, transfers and discharge policies. It’s a scenario being played out across the country, and for many people the picture of their overall care is like a jigsaw puzzle with several significant pieces missing.   Enham Trust is one of the charities attempting to restore some of those missing pieces of the jigsaw.  One chief concern raised by the Ombudsman report was the issue of ‘delayed transfer of care’, or bed blocking.  When patients cannot be discharged from hospital because there is no suitable environment, with the necessary care, rehabilitation and therapy, for them to retreat to. Enham Trust, a disabled charity based in Hampshire, has just opened ten new residences designed for exactly this purpose.  Each of the new Cedar Park Apartments is furnished, has a wet room, kitchenette with fridge and microwave, a private patio with rural views and storage facilities. The apartments offer somewhere for patients to go, with short-term care packages structured around each individual.  Three meals a day can be provided, as well as a range of therapies, support and activities.  Care provision is available on site 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The Cedar Park Apartments are available to people leaving hospital and needing a place to stay, while longer-term health and social care plans are put in place or necessary alterations are made to their homes so they can eventually move back.  They can be paid for privately or with funding from the local authority. But the shortcomings in care aren’t just affecting individuals; they’re having a huge impact on the NHS as a whole.  In February, Lord Carter’s review of English acute hospitals revealed that 8,500 hospital beds were taken each year by medically-fit patients.  This has a tangible knock on effect on the entire NHS, in terms of admissions and elective procedure rates.  Bed blocking is threatening to bring some aspects of hospital care to a grinding halt. Furthermore, this effect is compounded by pressure from an ageing population plus a confusing array of local medical services, which are often perceived as inaccessible, and Enham Trust’s Chairman Khalid Aziz believes it’s time to rethink the system.  “The Carter Review estimates delays in discharging patients costs the NHS £900 million every year,” he said.  “But that doesn’t alter the fact that these vulnerable people who are taking up the beds still need some form of treatment, constant care or support.  You can’t free up the beds until an alternative form of care is in place.” Chief Executive Peta Wilkinson added:  “Everything is pointing to the fact that changes in the way we offer and deliver care are inevitable.  At a time when there is clamour for change, third sector organisations like Enham Trust are in a unique position.  They are at liberty to offer innovative and collaborate solutions for truly integrated care.  They can maintain a vision whilst operating with agility and flexibility. “Our specialist units offer a blueprint for other organisations.  They offer a way for patients to have space, time and facilities to recover and return to independence in a safe, supportive environment.  They give the patient’s family the confidence to know their loved one is receiving the support they need.  A solution like this seems to me to be the logical way forward.  We think we are offering one of the essential missing pieces of the jigsaw.”
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24 Jun

Hotels Are Best at Customer Service

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
Hotels are best at online customer service Hotels and B&Bs come top of the list for online customer service, while – surprisingly perhaps – online marketing businesses are at the bottom. That’s according to new research conducted by online search platform Intently.co, which analysed data from over 16,000 service providers covering 160 business sectors to find out which professions offer the best online consumer experience. The best industries for customer service, based on their average response rate, were: Holiday accommodation and services – eg, hotels, B&Bs and self-catering cottages (33%) Cosmetic surgery (32%) Pet services – eg, dog grooming, dog walking, kennels and catteries (28%) Beauty services – eg, beauticians, hair and make up artists (26%) The worst industries for customer service were: Technology Services – eg, web design and development, SEO services, online marketing and social media (5%) Delivery services – eg, couriers, flower delivery (11%) Home Services – eg, plumbers, builders and electricians (15%) Vehicle maintenance – eg, car servicing and tyre replacement (15%) All the emails were requests for bookings, appointments or work to be undertaken, so service providers should have been motivated to respond quickly. “Apart from a few service groups such as hotels and accommodation services, response rates are surprisingly poor,” Intently’s CEO, Neil Harris said.  “When customers choose who to buy from, cost is important, but speed of response and customer service matters even more.” He added:  “It’s ironic that technology providers have greatly underperformed considering that they cover services such as online marketing, social media consultancy and search engine optimisation – you would expect them to be strong on online communication. “Supply seems to outstrip demand in this area, and these technology providers regularly make unsolicited approaches to potential customers.  This makes it even more surprising that when a genuine lead arrives in a technology provider’s inbox, they don’t seem to know what to do with it.”
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23 Jun

Leaving EU Equivalent to Writing a Blank Cheque

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
Leaving EU linked to writing blank cheques with no survey, assessments of risk or foundations says one of Britain’s leading Care Home providers.   Warnings have been written to staff of 14 000 by a personal felt duty from Chai Patel, the executive chairman of HC-One, regarding voting to leave the EU. Suggesting the leave would provoke risks to the “care we deliver, the livelihoods of our colleagues and the company’s future.” Patel contributed the previous as advice and the company is by no means telling their staff exactly how to vote. HC-One runs hundreds of homes for the elderly, they evaluated the shortage in the UK’s nursing system and the urge for carers, housekeepers and catering staff in recent times. “HC-One has relied on the work of colleagues from around the world, including Europe, to provide the kind of professional services we are proud of,” Patel said “Britain leaving the EU could have profound effect on our national economy and in turn on public spending. The care sector would struggle to absorb another cut in spending.” Labour warned that a Brexit vote could lead to “deeper cuts to social care” and leave thousands of liable people without fundamental care and support. Labour ventilated a new analysis regarding their recent finding that the funding for councils could be executed by more than £500m by the end of the decade in the event of a vote to leave the EU. Heidi Alexander, the shadow in health care secretary, said “In the worst case scenario, the government would have to cut council budgets by more than half a billion pounds if it were to stick to its pledge of balancing the books by the end of the decade.” She regarded today’s vote being “more than about our membership to the EU. It’s about protecting the people who rely on our public services from even deeper cuts under this Tory government.” Labour have also disclosed that leaving the EU would harm funding for Britain’s young people as about £350m a year of cash from Brussels goes towards helping them into work. Nick Thomas-Symonds, a shadow employment minister, said at a time when 865 000 16 – 24 year olds are not in education, employment or training and the government are slashing support for the long-term unemployed, Britain cannot afford to lost the billions of pounds of European money that fund schemes. Gisela Stuart, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer said in a joint statement: “Two-thirds of George Osborne and David Cameron’s austerity cuts could have been avoided if we had been able to keep the money we give to the EU and spend it at home instead.” In conclusion, it is clear that the Social Care sector have a strict opinion on staying in the European Union in order to protect what they believe is right for the people in their industry. Something as a Nation we have to respect in this historic time in our life, is the opinion of others, which everyone is entitled to – as we know.
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9 Jun

Euro’s 2016 Powered By Recycled Cooking Oils

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
A football stadium powered by chip fat? For the UEFA Champions League 2016? Chip fat?   Us Brit’s love a good ‘Chippy tea’ on a Friday evening so an abundance of chip fragrance glazing the St. Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard stadium seems somewhat fantastic. Yes… you heard correctly. Local authorities have made the decision to trial biofuel made from recycled cooking oils to power the games. The Euro’s 2016 matches will be held at St. Etienne’s Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, France, starting from Friday 10th June – Sunday 10th July. The biofuel the local authorities aspire to use is made from recycled cooking oil which has been collected by a registered, licenced waste carrier company. The biofuel scheme is the most recent in a number of environmental initiatives at the ground, it is claimed that a glamourous 50% of energy consumed in the 42 000 seat stadium, which is known in France as ‘The Cauldron’ or the ‘Green Hell’, comes from green sources. The local authority St. Etienne Metropole (SEM) hopes to extend the biofuel scheme over and above the stadium. This could be the future for all football stadiums, something that we can’t complain about! Several nearby communes have committed to using biofuel for heating municipal buildings. 4 matches will be held at the stadium including: Iceland vs Portugal, Czech Republic vs Croatia, Slovakia vs England, as well as one of the four quarter finals matches. In 2007, solar panels were installed into the stadium resulting in the energy of which was collected has been sold to EDF Energy – rainwater is also collected and used where possible. When the matches are taking place, all materials used will be recyclable meaning the fans will be drinking from recycled plastic cups yet to be recycled again allowing any waste that is collected after the matches to be classified to be recycled. We wish every team the best of luck and let the games commence! For more information regarding the UEFA Champions League 2016 click here. For any other general enquiries in relation to biofuel/gas/electricity please be sure to give us a call on 0800 781 7626.
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