State of Care | Care Quality Commission

At long last the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is speaking out about the state of care in the UK and especially the crisis in Social Care, which justifies the need for the petition I created, Solve the crisis in Social Care,

By signing and sharing the petition it will add more weight to the CQC report.

I have also put together further information, should you wish to see it, being Solve the crisis in Social Care more information







Source: State of Care | Care Quality Commission

Solving the crisis in Social Care

Social Care is just as important as Health Care, but does not receive the support is should do.

With this in mind please could I mention that the forthcoming Budget is an important opportunity to address the crucial issue of funding for Social Care, but will it.

Boris has promised, but will he keep his promise and even if money is made available will it be sufficient.

Boris has now mentioned it will take 5 years to get the funding, Social Care can not wait that long.

Boris needs to be told this is not good enough, so it is essential we keep the pressure on Boris and my petition ‘Solve the crisis in Social Care could be the means.

Please see below

We now have the New Year 2020.

However, if the ‘Crisis in Social Care’ is not Solved soon there will not be many more New Years for the care, required for persons in need of care, to be provided by Local Authorities due to their lack of funding. This will then have a much greater impact on health care provision, which is itself in crisis.

I have therefore created my latest petition, please follow the link

For more information please follow the link

This Petition needs You, please sign to show your support for you will not know when you or someone in your family will need social care.

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

flash logo.jpg 2


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



Should the IRO role be abolished? – Community Care

As is the case in Social care everyone is so overworked, due to caseloads and to some extent complexities.

Everyone on social care should be providing good quality input and be there for the child, but we all know that is not so, for numerous reasons some being too large workloads, ineffectual supervision, management pressures to get results causing at times for shortcuts to be made leading to poor quality outputs, pressures to support the team at the expense of the child (Loyalty to the team, so that mistakes are ‘put under the carpet’)

So, Independence from Local Authorities is a must, but Quality of IROs is a priority as it should be for anyone in Social Care.

But much is down to funding, which is a government problem for Social care for it should never be done on the ‘cheap’, but unfortunately sufficient funding has been a problem for as long as I can remember, perhaps since social care has been around, for no Government wants to accept accountability and responsibility and there is no transparency.


Source: Should the IRO role be abolished? – Community Care

Letter to Editor: It’s time to make a stand | Same Difference

Not wishing to detract from Catherine’s campaign, but similar could be said about Prostrate Cancer in males. Both should be much higher on the agenda.


Source: Letter to Editor: It’s time to make a stand | Same Difference

International doctors are threatened with deportation after qualifying as GPs, MPs are warned | The BMJ

You couldn’t make it up, medical students come to the UK to gain qualifications to be GPs and we are in desperate need of more GPs, so the Department of Health and Social Care says, but when they gain their qualifications, it appears, another department of this Government, the Home Office, are sending letters threatening them with deportation.

Can’t there be some form of communication, I was going to say Good communication, but it appears any form of communication between these 2 departments would be welcome, be it good or not so good.

Is it that the Home office should be renamed to be ‘Not the Home Office’ as they appear to be against anything that could benefit the UK.

Perhaps it is a requirement that you have no brain to be in the Home Office, for they appear to be acting as though they have no Brains at all.



Source: International doctors are threatened with deportation after qualifying as GPs, MPs are warned | The BMJ

Junior doctors in England threaten to take industrial action over pay | The BMJ

Strike action, now it appears it is the turn of Junior Doctors, and currently it is Train Drivers and maybe some other Rail Workers, but there are many in the UK who feel they are in need of a salary increase as salary rates have been eroded for many years and now we have rampart inflation and many commodity costs increases, with energy just one.

But many in the UK are only on the National Living Wage of £9.50 per hour, or a few on the Real Living Wage of £9.90 per hour  and many of these persons if they did go on strike, the most vulnerable in the UK would suffer, and many deaths could well occur.

In this, I include care workers, who in this recent COVID pandemic worked tremendously and many were treated abdominally, especially by this Government, especially those in care homes, but not exclusively for there are also care workers in home care, respite care, hospice care, Supported Living care and others for both children and adults. These workers have been abandoned in respect of sufficient salaries, working conditions, holiday and sick pay and more, for many years, more than I can remember.

While you can say this is the responsibility of their employers the Care Agencies, they in turn  receive the care fees from Local Authorities, who receive the money to do so, mainly from Governments grants which from 2010 have been severely reduced by austerity cuts. Cuts supposedly to be made from saving, but there were little savings to be made, unless cuts to services were made and in many instances these cuts were severe and social care was not immune from these cuts and these cuts are still ongoing.

Care is not the unskilled profession it is made out to be, for to care for persons needs many skills to ensure the right care is being given to everyone who needs to be in receipt of care. For, unlike, it is assumed, it should not be a ‘one fits all’ for all care should be ‘person-centred’. Based on each individuals needs and choices and not what the system dictates.

This should also be so in many other professions of which transport is one of many, for the needs of all should be a consideration for everyone of us and to withdraw labour is not only a withdrawal of transport facilities, but a withdrawal of means for others to lead their own lives and in many instances be a means to restrict equality, such as is being seen by persons with disabilities being left abandoned on various forms of transport, yes, maybe not by strike actions, but an insufficiency of required staff.

Now is not the time to take any strike actions, even, if there is any appropriate time, for there should be compulsory arbitration, which would have to be binding on all parties.

Source: Junior doctors in England threaten to take industrial action over pay | The BMJ

Atos Employ Just 3 Doctors To Carry Out PIP Assessments | Same Difference

They can have all the health professionals they wish to, but it is the quality of the assessments that is the priority. Poor quality equates no real assessment, so improve the quality or get out and take your health professionals with you.


Source: Atos Employ Just 3 Doctors To Carry Out PIP Assessments | Same Difference

Airports Told To Stop Failing Disabled Passengers | Same Difference

‘Airports must stop failing disabled passengers or they could face legal action, the UK regulator has warned.’ , wrong, yes, Airports must stop failing disabled passengers otherwise they will face legal action, is what is required, no contest. Disabled people will not and should not be ignored, which is what is currently happening.


Source: Airports Told To Stop Failing Disabled Passengers | Same Difference

Benfleet Wheelchair User And Family ‘Trapped’ On Train | Same Difference

Equality with a disability, unfortunately is non-existent in many areas and apologies are not appropriate as they don’t improve the service.

In this incident, yes, dealing with the children was a priority, but so was dealing with Mr Hamilton, but it appears this rail service can only deal with one priority at a time, that is, if they even dealt with the children satisfactorily for that we don’t know and can only assume they did.

Disabled persons deserve a much better service in all areas.

Now, it appears that the rail service is going on strike, but not to improve the service, but to improve it for rail staff, as though customers are an inconvenience, but without customers there will be no rail service and that means no jobs to be employed to.

All these services should work for all concerned and not just the stated few.

Ideally trains and other forms of transport should be designed to ensure all passengers are catered for and that includes people who are disabled. There have been Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005 and the Equality Act 2010, which have made for some improvements, but as can be seen not all, so legislation again needs to be created as does the redesigns of trains.

Not mentioned here but what is the position with disability toilets on trains and especially Changing places toilets for those who required them.


Source: Benfleet Wheelchair User And Family ‘Trapped’ On Train | Same Difference

Gatwick Airport Apologises To Disabled Passenger Left On Plane | Same Difference

Yes, Gatwick airport apologised and so they should but is an apology sufficient. ‘Victoria Brignell, who is quadriplegic, said she was initially told it would take 50 minutes to help her from the aircraft.’. However, it wasn’t 50 minutes for Victoria was left on the plane for over a hour and a half, this is far from the service expected and it is not an isolated incident, for it is occurring to many disabled persons at a number of UK airports. One incident is one too many and disabled persons should be able to expect a much better service.

Also, it is not as though the airports are unaware that a disabled person will require assistance from a plane, so on every occasion, not only the special wheelchair be available as the plane lands, but the persons to provide the assistance, so the disabled person can be the first off the plane not the last.

If airports are not able to provide this service then these airports should not be allowed to provide any service to anyone and the airports be closed immediately.


Source: Gatwick Airport Apologises To Disabled Passenger Left On Plane | Same Difference

Reforms would require ‘unfeasible’ boost to social work numbers without system change, says report – Community Care

If any UK government had taken social care seriously, the current serious underfunding would not be so. Every Government has ignored social care and thereby caused the serious underfunding and the last 12 years has seen the underfunding increase to extreme crisis levels.

This is not just for Local Authority (LA) social care costs, but also for social care in the community for both children and adults. Even if assessments were done the insufficiency of care workers is also extreme and those that are working are extremely underpaid with unreasonable working conditions. No wonder there is a reluctance for people to enter the care profession. Some of this could have been slightly minimised by allowing non-UK persons to enter the UK, but to a large extent the restrictive immigration policies stopped many coming to the UK, it would have not solved the insufficiency of care workers, but every little helps.

UK Governments have failed to understand social care, either by error or by design, the allowing of COVID patients to be transferred from hospitals into care homes at the start of the COVID pandemic proves that. Even when there are discussions about social care it appears to be centred on care homes, as though other forms of social care don’t exist.

While reforms are required, so is funding and much more recruitment and , nothing will be achieved unless all is done.


Source: Reforms would require ‘unfeasible’ boost to social work numbers without system change, says report – Community Care

Guide Dog And Owner Turned Away From Oxford Restaurant | Same Difference

This is very disturbing, it would have been bad enough if it was done through ignorance as the Equality Act 2010 has been in force for 12 years. But, in this instance the manager knew the law and still refused entry.

But, it appears the actions taken against persons and organisation who refuse to obey the Act is a fine and compensation, which can be very extensive as there is no limitation, but that could possibly be covered by liability insurance. Surely a custodial sentence be also a consideration.

People and organisations should not be allowed to escape prosecution and should be made to suffer for the person being discriminated against will be suffering due to the discrimination, for a very long time, maybe for life.

All forms of discrimination need to be countered and people to be shown that they will be severely punished for failing to abide by discrimination legislation.


Source: Guide Dog And Owner Turned Away From Oxford Restaurant | Same Difference