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



Government leak says care providers will feel the pressure of rising costs within months following no-deal Brexit | Care Industry News

According to a government leak, following a no-deal Brexit, UK care providers will begin to feel the pressure of rising costs within two months.

The leaked documents named Operation Yellowhammer; surmises that Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine.

The documents marked ‘Officially sensitive’ and requiring security clearance point out that the assessments are not worst-case scenarios, but without a trade agreement many sectors and the public as a whole will face shortages in fuels, foods and medicines.

The documents address social care and suggest that after October 31st, following a no-deal Brexit, rising costs will affect the sector and result in extended delays in medicines as three-quarters of the UK’s drugs enter the UK via the EU.

The document comments; that rising costs will hit social care with small providers impacted within 2-3 months and larger providers within 4-6 months.

Notably, it does not address people cared for in their own homes.

The documents do not mention the many thousands of elderly UK citizens already living in care homes or hospitalised, across the EU whom; following a no-deal and the cancelling of ‘Freedom of movement’ on November 1st, will almost certainly be forced to return to the UK

The documents also suggest that many businesses throughout the UK are not prepared and have not accessed advice via various government websites.

The Independent Care Group (ICG), said this document provided yet more evidence of the urgent need to tackle the social care crisis immediately.

“The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “Social care is already in crisis with 1.4m people living without the care they need and providers failing. This latest
document about the time after a no-deal Brexit warns, potentially, of even worse to come.


Source: Government leak says care providers will feel the pressure of rising costs within months following no-deal Brexit | Care Industry News

Global special: vaccines save lives – why are so many people afraid of them : The Conversation

Vaccines against infectious diseases have saved more lives than any other single intervention in medical history. They now prevent a staggering two to three million deaths per year around the world.

And yet vaccine hesitancy ranks alongside climate change, pandemic flu and Ebola as one of the top ten threats to global health of 2019, according to the World Health Organisation.

Today, scientists are racing to develop new safe and effective vaccines against HIV, Malaria, Ebola and tuberculosis (TB) – major killers in the global South. Meanwhile, public resistance to vaccines is growing around the world – from southern England to Afghanistan. Measles, once eliminated in North America, is making a comeback, with cases rising 700% across Africa in the first four months of this year. The threat of a deadly pandemic flu hovers over our shoulders.

What are the frontiers of vaccine science today? What can be done about anti-vaxxers and the fears they have? The challenge of fighting infectious disease raises as many moral and legal questions as it does scientific ones.

Over the last few months, we have asked experts at the cutting edge of vaccine research and public health to feed into the global debate. Here we present their analysis and thoughts on key aspects of a crucial international challenge.


Source: Global special: vaccines save lives – why are so many people afraid of them : The Conversation

Sheffield Health & Wellbeing Forum

25th September
at The Circle,
Rockingham Lane,
Reasons to attend the Sheffield Health & Wellbeing Forum:
* hear updates on key health and social care issues;
* share your ideas and views to influence policy makes;
* network with others from the public, private, voluntary and community sector;
* share information about relevant news and events.
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Alzheimer’s: Death of key brain cells causes daytime sleepiness : Medical News Today

Extreme daytime sleepiness is often a top symptom of Alzheimer’s disease but what, exactly, causes it? New research finally brings us an answer.
older woman sleeping

A specific type of protein may cause daytime sleepiness in people with Alzheimer’s, according to a recent study.

Many people with Alzheimer’s disease have a tendency to sleep a lot during the day, even when they have had a full night’s sleep.

Based on links between excessive sleepiness and neurodegenerative conditions, researchers are speculating that looking at daytime napping patterns could help predict the development of Alzheimer’s.

But what remains unclear is why, exactly, people with this condition experience the need to sleep so often.


Source: Alzheimer’s: Death of key brain cells causes daytime sleepiness : Medical News Today

EHRC proposals on new right to independent living: Six key elements – Disability News Service

The equality and human rights watchdog has described six key elements that it believes would be needed to enable disabled people in the UK to have a legal right to independent living.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been examining whether there needs to be a legal right to independent living since at least November 2017.

Last year, a barrister commissioned by the watchdog concluded that there did need to be such a legal right.

EHRC has been developing a working paper describing how this could be achieved, although it is still “refining” its proposals.

Two years ago, the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities called on the UK to recognise disabled people’s right to live independently, and said it was “going backwards” on independent living.

The committee has recommended that article 19 (on independent living) of the UN disability convention should be incorporated into UK domestic law.

In the working paper, EHRC says it agrees with this recommendation, but believes there is “no single way” to do this.

Instead, a “mixture of provisions with duties and rights of varying strength, levels and breadth is likely to be required”.

It believes there would be six “key elements” to how this could be done.

The first would be to create a new duty on certain public bodies, such as local authorities and NHS clinical commissioning groups, to act with the aim of meeting the requirements of article 19.

Secondly, there would be a legal presumption that accommodation should be provided in the community, with care and support to enable community or home living, as long as this was in line with the disabled person’s wishes.

Disabled people should also be able to decline care (or elements of that support), “even if others may think those care elements are best for their well-being”, and they should have that wish respected.

There should also be a ban on the building of new “institutional” accommodation, although the working paper does not currently recommend that existing institutions should be shut down.

The fifth element is for local authorities, and central government, to carry out a regular assessment of unmet need for accommodation, support and care in the community, probably every two years.

The final “key element” would be to set up a new independent body to enforce the right to independent living and decide if local authorities have “discharged their obligations”.

The working paper also attempts to define institutional accommodation, suggesting that it is a setting where residents are isolated from the broader community; or live with people other than those they have chosen to live with; or where they do not have control over their day-to-day lives and the decisions which affect them; or where the interests of the organisation itself “tend to take precedence over the residents’ individualised needs or wishes”.

Although the working paper has not yet been published on the commission’s website, it was submitted quietly in April as evidence to the parliamentary joint committee on human rights, for its ongoing inquiryinto the inappropriate detention of young autistic people and young people with learning difficulties.


Source: EHRC proposals on new right to independent living: Six key elements – Disability News Service

Proof that Citizens Advice signed a ‘gagging’ contract in exchange for £51m of Tory government money | Vox Political

How can you trust Citizens Advice help on Universal Credit when you know the organisation has agreed not to say anything about it that harms the Conservative government’s reputation?

You can’t.

The ‘gagging’ contract that Citizens Advice signed in return for £51 million of government funding does stipulate that it is only banned from anything that brings the government “unfairly” into disrepute – but who defines those terms?

It seems clear that this was an attempt to guarantee the silence of the largest organisation dealing with the mountain of problems created by the fundamentally-flawed Universal Credit disaster.

If someone dies as a result of this nightmare of a policy, and Citizens Advice knows about it, may we expect that organisation to do its public duty and blow the whistle?

Or will it cover up the facts, for fear of upsetting the Tories – and perhaps losing some of that fat funding formula?

Never mind the Tory government’s reputation. Before putting pen to paper, the bosses of Citizens Advice should have thought of their own.


Source: Proof that Citizens Advice signed a ‘gagging’ contract in exchange for £51m of Tory government money | Vox Political

Why is the TV Licensing authority persecuting this pensioner? | Vox Political

This is another indictment against outsourcing giant Capita, which collects TV licence fees on behalf of the BBC.

Capita recently had to drop an appeal against a court ruling of maladministration after it advised the Department for Work and Pensions that a claimant did not deserve the Personal Independence Payment. She was dead within four months.

Now it seems the firm has perpetuated the 22-year-long harassment of Derek Cheesbrough, who gave up watching television in 1997 but has received an intimidating letter demanding that he pay his licence fee every month since.


Source: Why is the TV Licensing authority persecuting this pensioner? | Vox Political

Housing associations demand major Universal Credit changes : Welfare Weekly

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has written to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince MP, demanding major changes to the Government’s flagship Universal Credit scheme.

The Federation is calling for a number of changes to how the new system operates, including changes to the Universal Credit payment system.

Housing associations say the minimum five-week wait for an initial payment must be scrapped and replaced with a more flexible payment frequency.

Where housing costs are paid directly to the landlord, the Federation says the system needs to be “fit for purpose”, with the landlord receiving the payment on the same cycle as the tenant.

The Government should also improve work allowances and reduce the taper rate, restore inflation linked uprating to working age benefits from April 2020, increase funding for support and advice, improve data sharing between the DWP and social landlords, and make it easier for landlords to request direct rent payments.

Sally Thomas, SFHA Chief Executive, said: “Like our sister organisations across the UK, we have major concerns over the current system.


Source: Housing associations demand major Universal Credit changes  : Welfare Weekly

NHS bosses urge Boris Johnson to end ‘escalating crisis’ in social care : iNews

Dozens of hospital and health leaders have joined more than 150,000 people calling on Boris Johnson to take action now to address the escalating crisis in care.

In what is believed to be the largest petition of its kind, the Prime Minister is urged to end the cuts in social care that have left around 1.4 million older people in England unable to access the care and support they need.

The health leaders who have signed the letter span hospital, mental health, community services and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). They believe extra investment and reform of social care is not only the right thing to do for vulnerable people who need support, but that a failure to deliver a solution will result in further pressure on local hospital and other NHS services. They believe the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, launched in January by Theresa May, will be placed in jeopardy as a result.

In their letter to the Mr Johnson, NHS leaders welcome his commitment to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”’. They have pledged their support and are calling for several responses from No 10, including cross-party talks to help deliver a more sustainable social care system, backed up by a long-term financial settlement, and “immediate funding increases” in the upcoming one-year government spending review that is being conducted this autumn to shore up care services in the short term.

The health experts also want to see reforms “to help deliver a solution for social care that lasts a generation and more”, which must include a widening of the eligibility criteria to ensure those people most in need get the care and support they require.

Joining forces


Source: NHS bosses urge Boris Johnson to end ‘escalating crisis’ in social care : iNews

Social care sector may be safeguarded from post-Brexit immigration laws : Care Home Professional

The government is looking at plans to exempt the social care sector from a proposed post-Brexit migration policy over fears that it could worsen the workforce crisis.

The news came from a Whitehall source, who said a no-deal Brexit could lead to the social care system collapsing by Christmas.

“Leaving the EU in October is a different prospect from March, creating a perfect storm. Some workers leave the social care system to take up seasonal retail work as it is better paid,” the source told The Times.


Source: Social care sector may be safeguarded from post-Brexit immigration laws : Care Home Professional