Social Care in Crisis

Due to years of austerity cuts to Local Authorities, these authorities are having to spread more thinly, each year the amount of money they have all over the many areas of their responsibilities and Social Care is one of those areas.

But each year with an aging population and more persons with disabilities living longer, the people needing Social Care is increasing while the money available to help care for these needs is reducing.

In addition there is an increasing need for employed carers to provide the care the people with these needs require. But there is a shortage of people wishing to come into care and why is this?

The rate of pay within the care industry is abysmal for most employed carers receive a wage based on the *National Living Wage, currently £7.83, which will increase to £8.21 on the first of April 2019.

While the Living Wage is £9.00.

Being an employed carer is more than, cleansing, washing, dressing and meal preparation, as they are, in many instances, one of the few people that the people with care needs see.

Also there could be instances where the employed carer needs to deal with financial responsibilities, provide emotional support, manage prescriptions and administer medication, monitor Safeguarding and many more areas of responsibility and paying just the National Living Wage is not sufficient to cover all these responsibilities.

It is therefore, that the Living Wage would be more near a level to pay, but Local Authorities do not have the finance to pay this, currently and therefore this current Government needs to take this on board and increase the funding to Local Authorities.

With this in mind, FLASh (Families Lobbying and Advising Sheffield) have created an EPetition, Pay All Employed Carers the Living Wage.

Please see the following

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FLASh (Families Lobbying & Advising Sheffield) are concerned about the continuance of Social Care within the UK.

The Care Industry is in a state of crisis as there is insufficient funding from Local Authorities to Care Service Providers to pay the carers they employ a wage of sufficient amount for the work these carers are required to provide which matches the responsibilities they have to undertake to the persons to whom they are providing care to.

These Local Authorities have, for many years, under this current Tory Government, been subjected to austerity cuts to the funding they receive from this Government, which impacts on the money these authorities have available to provide this funding.

Therefore, FLASh have created an EPetition ‘Pay all employed Carers the Living Wage.

Please view this EPetition and seriously consider signing the EPetition and then verify your signature though the link provided in the email you will receive. Until your signature is verified your signature will not be activated.

The EPetition ‘Pay all employed Carers the Living Wage’ can be accessed here.

Should you be unable to view the EPetition, please copy and paste the following; into your browser.

Once you have verified your signature please could you share this EPetition with your colleagues, friends and any other connections.

Please also forward to your MP and your Local Councillors.

Thank you for your support.


If you wish to know more about FLASh a link to their website is here. If you are a family carer in Sheffield for someone with a Learning Disability or Autism and you wish to become a member of FLASh and/or attend the monthly meetings please advise your email address to

Chris Sterry, Vice-chair of FLASh issues his own Newsletter, on at least a monthly basis. To receive this Newsletter on a regular basis please email Chris on and a copy of the Newsletter can be accessed here.




* Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

How Carer Voice was Started

3 Family Carers of relatives with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism (Chris Sterry, Judith Gwynn and Kate Chapman) started working together with a PHd student (Rachael A Black) at the University of Sheffield (Department of Human Communication Sciences) using the framework of Co-production. This was initially to provide research for Rachael’s thesis required for her PHd, but also to have a meaningful outcome for LD Carers within Sheffield, UK

At the start of this co-production Rachael enquired through Sheffield Mencap & Gateway for carers of persons with Learning Disabilities to work with her on her PHd project. During the last 18 months we have had regular meetings at the University of Sheffield on how we would proceed with this project and what our initial outcomes would be. Initially through general discussions, which Rachael was recording, it became clear that the recurring situations was around carers communications with the range of Service Providers. Within the context of Service Providers it included Sheffield Adult Social Care through Sheffield City Council, various health providers ( being GPs, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Community Health, and many other health areas) together with the independent Care Providers including charities, voluntary and private independent providers.

So that we were not restricted around our own views we decided to create 2 surveys, 1 to be completed by LD carers reflecting on their interactions with Service Providers and the other survey to be completed by Service Providers reflecting on their interactions with LD Carers. The surveys were created on Survey Monkey and during their creation we had a number of meeting to discuss how these were to be formed, the number of questions to be included and the specific questions. When we were all satisfied with both surveys they went live on Survey Monkey and electronic links were disseminated through our various range of contacts within Sheffield, UK.

We also discussed how we wished to to use the information from these surveys in addition to the original outcome for Rachael’s thesis. and decided we would wish to do this in a form of a presentation. We looked at possible dates and venues and obtained costings and also viewed each venue and then using co-production decided which venue to book and how we would advertise the event and provide a means for LD Carers and Service Providers to book to attend the event, which we did through Eventbrite and agreed on a format for a flyer and a website (Carer Voice) and the event title being Carer Voice Working Together.

Working Together Event Presentation 2017


Carer Voice ‘Working Together’, The Presenters from left to right, Chris Sterry, Judith Gwynn, Rachael A Black and Kate Chapman
Carer Voice ‘Working Together’, Presenter Rachael A Black Stating the Principles of Co-production
Carer Voice ‘Working Together’ Carers and Service Providers working together
Carer Voice ‘Working Together’ Presenter Judith Gwynn answering questions at the end of the Presentation
Carer Voice ‘Working Together’ Presenter Kate Chapman answering questions

Carer Voice Final Notes

Thank you for coming today and now you have seen the presentation and been involved in the workshops in which carers and service providers have worked together. This is how it should be for we are all here for the same reason, to ensure vulnerable persons, be they be our relatives or not, have provision to ensure their needs are met and they can then led their own lives.

Communication is but one key, but an extremely important key and without it all that is there can fail.

With this in mind I facilitate a support group LD Carers Butty Group, also known as Central group or Butty Group, where there is also a website LD Carers Butty Group and a mailing/distribution list. There are other support groups and details of these can be obtained from the Carers Centre and from Cathy and Kirsty from Sheffield Mencap & Gateway (Sharing Caring Project).

If you wish to be included in the mailing/distribution list please advise your email address. While this was produced with carers in mind, it does not mean that service providers cannot be included. Information sent will include areas relating to disability both local and national as well as notes for the support meetings.

Lunch is now ready and there are some leaflets from a selection of providers please view and take away and continue to network throughout lunch.

Do not forget to put on a post it the message you are taking away from this event and an evaluation form will be emailed to you, please return with your comments.

Our thanks to

University of Sheffield, Department of Human Communication Sciences for funding the event

Sheffield Central Fire Station for the room

Healthwatch Sheffield for the pens

Carer Voice ‘Working Together’, Chris Sterry giving the closing statement


After the Carer Voice : Working Together event we sent the following email to everyone who attended the event and also to those persons who could not attend but did express an interest in the event.

“We just wanted to get in touch to give you an update on the work we are doing following the Working Together Event in October.

 As a group we have met once to go through the feedback and will be meeting again in December. Where we will start drafting some standards and guidelines for communication between family carers and providers of service based on the information you gave us.  

 In early 2018 we will email these to you for your feedback. If you would not like to receive these emails then please do let me know and I will remove your name form the mailing list.

 We are also planning to pull together a small working group in the New Year to ensure the standards are accessible and practical. If you would be interested in being in this group, please do let us know. It will consist of 2 to 3 meetings at the University of Sheffield.

 Please also find attached some information about care workers in the independent and charity sector and the flu vaccine which we hope will be of use to you.

If you would be interested in receiving a copy of the presentation we gave on the day please do get in touch and I will send this to you.

Many thanks

Rachael and Carer Voice”

Flu Vaccine for Care Workers

Supporting People with Learning Disabilities get Flu Injection


We have now met in December and have started drafting some standards and guidelines for communication between family carers and providers of services based on the information given to us during the Carer Voice : Working Together event.

The draft documents were produced.

So we could enage with service providers we held 3 meetings.

Intialy we met with  representatives of Sheffield Adult Social Carer and Sheffield City Council Commissioning who viewed the documents and made some comments regarding some minor alterations.

The second meeting was with some service care providers who also made some contructive comments.

The final meeting was with representatives of Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, who also welcomed the documents and wished to use these in conjunction the their ‘For Pete’s Sake’ campaign’ and offered us a 15 minute presentation slot in the Assistive Technology event on the 28 June 2018.

Chris gave the presentation at the event and it was very appreciated by the atendees.

The presentation can be viewed  here



GENERAL ELECTION: What does the Conservatives’ victory mean for Social Care? : 61chrissterry

Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party secured a huge majority as the British public headed to the polls yesterday.


Source: GENERAL ELECTION: What does the Conservatives’ victory mean for Social Care? : 61chrissterry

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): What to know : Medical News Today

It is not unusual for children to be picky eaters, and many grow out of this behavior. However, some children demonstrate more severe picky eating habits, such as limiting their diet to only certain textures or showing deep concern for the possible harmful effects of eating.

When these individuals stop growing, they need medical attention.

Doctors now classify a severe form of picky eating in children as avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Although this disorder shares some similarities with anorexia and bulimia, children living with ARFID do not have a poor body image or desire to lose weight.

In this article, we describe ARFID and explain the treatment options. We also cover what parents and caregivers can do to help.

What is ARFID?


Source : Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): What to know : Medical News Today

EHCP Annual Review: Our stats show there’s nothing annual about them… By Matt Keer : Special Needs Jungle


After months of form-filling, evidence gathering, panel meetings and bureaucratic slow-dancing, your child or young person now has an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP). With a bit of luck, a dollop of funding, two teaspoons of collaborative working and three tablespoons of expert practice, the legally-binding support that the EHCP brings is hopefully now enabling them to achieve the outcomes they want.

But the EHCP itself is just a piece of paper – a snapshot in time, capturing needs, provision and intended outcomes that real, live human beings have to act on. Unless EHCPs are kept up-to-date, unless they’re reviewed and tweaked on a regular and frequent basis, their value drops sharply.

So how well are EHCPs being kept up-to-date? We did some digging, and the answers aren’t encouraging.



Source: EHCP Annual Review: Our stats show there’s nothing annual about them… By Matt Keer : Special Needs Jungle

Why we aren’t participating in the Homeless Christmas Shoebox Appeal this year : Nomad Opening Doors

This year we have made a difficult decision. For several years, we’ve distributed the gifts you have generously donated to the Homeless Christmas Shoebox Appeal. Every year during Christmas week we’ve given these beautifully wrapped gift boxes to the people who use our service. This year, after much deliberation, we have decided not to participate. We don’t mean to cause any upset by doing this, but we have had to make this decision to truly adhere to our values. In this blog, I’m going to try and explain why.

It reminds people of the tough times

We believe that by giving someone a box of gifts specifically meant for a homeless person, we’re reminding them of the hardest part of their life at what can be the loneliest time of year.

Concerns about ability to provide care higher than ever- ADASS survey finds- Age UK comments : Care Industry News

pexels-photo-1243332Concern amongst Directors of Adults Social Services in England about their ability to provide the care and support that they are required to in law is at its highest level ever. Winter or the failure of a major provider could make things significantly worse, according to findings of the ADASS autumn survey released today.

The findings of the survey found that almost all Directors are concerned about their ability to provide the care they are legally required to. Nearly all have concerns that they have insufficient capacity to deal with winter or the failure of a major care provider. This could fundamentally undermine their ability to ensure that care is provided to those of us who are older or disabled.

93% of Directors indicated that they have some concerns, or insufficient capacity to manage the failure of a large provider. 90% of Directors stated that they have either some concerns, or insufficient capacity to manage winter related pressures over the coming months.

In response to the findings, President Julie Ogley said:

“Good care and support transforms lives. It enhances health and wellbeing, increases independence, choice and control. It is distinctive, valued, and personal.”


Source : Concerns about ability to provide care higher than ever- ADASS survey finds- Age UK comments : Care Industry News



ability to provide the care and support that Directors of Adults Social Services in England are required to in law is at its highest level ever

90,000 care workers needed immediately if manifesto pledges are to be met! : Care Industry News

clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-45842New analysis reveals that up to 90,000 home care workers for the over 65s are needed immediately if the main parties’ manifesto pledges to expand and reform social care are to be met.

In a new briefing the Nuffield Trust finds that there are around 165,000 over 65s in England who need help at home with three or more basic daily activities like getting dressed, washing and eating, but are not currently receiving it from professionals, family or friends. [1]

The Nuffield Trust says that expanding social care to this group is implicit in both the Labour party’s pledge for free personal care for over 65s and the Conservative party’s principle to ‘give every person the dignity and security that they deserve’, despite the lack of concrete proposals in the latter’s manifesto. [2]


Source : 90,000 care workers needed immediately if manifesto pledges are to be met! : Care Industry News


Conservatives pledge extra £1bn per year to ‘stabilise’ social care :Care Home Professional

The Conservatives have pledged to inject an extra £1 billion per year in social care over the next five years to “stabilise” the system and provide extra support to people of all ages.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) said the move was part of a three-point plan to address the “social care challenge”.

“At this election, we are going further and will commit this £1 billion additional funding for every year of the new Parliament – a £5 billion commitment across the next Parliament to support local authorities to meet peoples’ needs for more social care staff, better infrastructure, technology and facilities,” he said

Source: Conservatives pledge extra £1bn per year to ‘stabilise’ social care :Care Home Professional

Cardboard cut-outs take to the stage at social care conference : Care Industry News

Life-size cardboard cut-outs of the three main party leaders t00k to the stage today because the politicians themselves failed to attend a major conference on social care.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) invited Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson to its conference in York today.

It wanted to hear how they will tackle the crisis in social care which has left 1.5m living without the care they need.

None of the leaders agreed to appear and instead, organisers put life-size cardboard cut-outs of all three on stage when they remained a no-show. Social care minister Caroline Dinenage was also invited.

About their non-appearance, the ICG’s Chair, Mike Padgham will tell the conference: “I think ladies and gentlemen, that might demonstrate to us how highly they place social care as we head to the polls for the third time in five years!

“This General Election has to be the catalyst for saving social care – we might not have another opportunity for a long, long time.

“Today is a rallying call. It is about sending a very clear message to politicians that social care is in crisis. It is about telling them that this cannot go on any longer. 1.5m people not getting the care they need. Providers failing.


Source: Cardboard cut-outs take to the stage at social care conference : Care Industry News

Is Access to a Toilet a Human Right? : wiseGeek

Around 30% of the world’s population does not have access to a decent toilet. Besides the health dangers to all, this means that more than 1.1 billion women and children around the world face additional risks associated with a lack of proper sanitation, including harassment and barriers to attending school. This is according to the non-governmental organization WaterAid, which released a report on “The State of the World’s Toilets” in 2017. The group found that the 10 countries with the most limited access to basic sanitation are all located in sub-Saharan Africa, with Ethiopia having the highest percentage of its population living without proper toilets. Despite recent improvements, only 7% of Ethiopians have access to suitable bathroom facilities.

Flush with information:

  • More people around the world have access to cell phones than to toilets.


  • There are 355 million women and girls in India who do not have access to a safe, basic toilet.


  • The original patent for toilet paper from 1891 shows it being rolled over, rather than under, the paper tube.


Source: Is Access to a Toilet a Human Right? : wiseGeek


Cannabis-based medicines: Two drugs approved for NHS : BBC News

Cannabis-based medicines: Two drugs approved for NHS, used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, have been approved for use by the NHS in England.

It follows new guidelines from the drugs advisory body NICE, which looked at products for several conditions.

Charities have welcomed the move, although some campaigners who have been fighting for access to the drugs have said it does not go far enough.

Both medicines were developed in the UK, where they are also grown.

Doctors will be able to prescribe Epidyolex, for children with two types of severe epilepsy – Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome – which can cause multiple seizures a day.

Clinical trials have shown the oral solution, which contains cannabidiol (CBD), could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40% in some children.

Epidyolex was approved for use in Europe in September, but in draft guidance NICE initially said it was not value for money.


Source: Cannabis-based medicines: Two drugs approved for NHS : BBC News