All posts by Chris Sterry commenting

About Chris Sterry commenting

Widowed with 3 adult step-children and 3 grandchildren. I live with my adult daughter, who has multiple physical and severe learning disabilities and utism. I blog about areas that interest me, but mainly about disability issues. Now I am retired, any of my spare time is devoted to issues around disability, social care and health related issues. I am therefore a Family Carers rep on Sheffield LD Partnership Board and Carers & Young Carers Partnership Board Facilitator of a LD Carers support group, namely LD Carers Butty Group Member of FLASH (Families Lobbying and Advising Sheffield) being a group of LD Carers who take on issues, but not individual issues, and relate these to Sheffield City Council Adult Social Care and Commissioning and the respective health providers. Trustees of Sheffield Mencap & Gateway and also NOMAD Opening Doors Member of Carers Expert Panel at Sheffield Carers Centre Chair of Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Customer Forum Enter & View rep with Healthwatch Sheffield Undertake PLACE visits on behalf of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust Governor of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Undertake a number of Co-production projects with various organisations within Sheffield

Police spending ‘almost third of time on non-police work’ | The Independent

So, ‘Police spending ‘almost third of time on non-police work’’, and a fair proportion of that time, could well be on transporting patients to hospital. Really, Police should be there for what they are employed for and that is dealing with crime.  Well what is occurring to the NHS is a crime, but not of a police definition, but a crime committed by the Government in allowing by insufficient funding and at many times interfering in the operations of the NHS doing what it knows best to do and that is caring for patients, when the Government has no idea of caring in any situation.

The Government expertise is meddling in areas where they have no knowledge, thereby causing many more problems.

Like creating targets, which have no possibility of being achieved, such as the 4 hour A&E wait times. What with the crisis with ambulances waiting at hospitals to transfer their patients, the state of Primary Care at GP surgeries, an abundance of patient with a severe insufficiency of GPs, so patients are bypassing GP surgeries and attending A&E instead.

The government need to get their act together and fully fund all aspects of the NHS, more funding for the Police so they can combat all crimes.

But it is not just the NHS and Police, but a defunct education system, let alone the serious crisis in social care. This not only put vulnerable people at risk through lack of social care, but this lack also severely impacts the NHS. Lack of social care progresses conditions that with sufficient social care would not progress or not to the degree they are doing. But also patients due to be discharged from hospital are not being due to the lack of social care, hence no beds being vacated, thereby patients in A&E can’t be progressed to wards, leading to ambulances queuing at hospitals, leading to Police to transfer patients which should have been by ambulances, thereby insufficient Police to deal with crime.

All this being caused by a Government not governing adequately, who appear to be saying what crisis, well their complete lack of attention to leads to that conclusion.


Source: Police spending ‘almost third of time on non-police work’ | The Independent

Full extent of NHS dentistry shortage revealed by far-reaching BBC research – BBC News

This crisis is, to some extent, not new, as there have been shortages of Dentists for many years and of those dentists many are not wishing to do dental work in the NHS. However, this crisis has become much more serious, even though there have been moves to increase places for dental students. But when these students do qualify many are not wishing to work within the NHS, or even, by some, to work in the UK.

This situation has been caused by a number of reasons

  1. interventions by previous Governments in altering Dentist contracts, in many instances without reference to dentists and their association, leading to much distrust by dentists in Governments
  2.  lack of government investment into dental work over many years and when there is investment, while insufficient, maybe also not in the right areas
  3. governments need to work with dentists and not against them, which many dentists feel the governments have been doing

All this leads to lack of service to NHS patients as they aren’t able to afford private dental care.

There are various forms of dental insurance, both, as I have found, none that will fully cover all the cost of dental work.

The NHS was set up in 1948 for health care to be free at the point of delivery, but over time this has been far from so in dentistry and it is becoming even more so in other areas of the NHS, especially with regards to prescriptions.

Much of the UK population have incomes which are far short of what is required to lead reasonable lives, which is now even more so with the vast increases in energy costs, so access to dental work is being denied to many on the basis of costs.

This is so far short-sighted by the Government for while dental is looking after teeth and gums, so any none access of dentistry causes much teeth and gum decay, so many other ailments can be spotted by going to the dentists, thereby by not going much less early warnings of other health conditions are not there, hence, even more health costs are being incurred, as when found the conditions will be well progressed therefore requiring more costly interventions.

This short-sightedness by Government has to stop and all NHS services need to be fully funded immediately and in doing so less involvement by Government into health services.

This is also needed in social care, which is, itself, in dire need of investment, perhaps, even more so than the NHS and also welfare benefits.

The Governments needs to be there for all of the population of the UK and not just certain sections and that goes, also for every part of the UK and not favoured Southern areas, especially London. Much is and has been said about ‘leveling up’ but currently not much leveling up is being seen.





Source: Full extent of NHS dentistry shortage revealed by far-reaching BBC research – BBC News

Adult care bereft of cash for current pressures and long-term reforms, warn MPs – Community Care

At long last there is action in Parliament, albeit, reports from Select Committees, it is a start from a less than zero base, one that has been around for many years, maybe from when Social Care became evident, even pre 1948. No Government has bothered to look at Social Care and it has been left to meander its course for far too long. For without a fully functioning Social Care there is no hope for the NHS, for they are, forever, interrelated. So any crisis in Social care only adds to the crisis in the NHS, while not providing reasonable care for those in need of Social Care, so they are left to suffer causing vast declines in health, not only for the individuals concerned but also their families.

Whie the NHS was created in 1948, so should social care have been incorporated fully in the service and not been left outside to fail.

Fail it did not only because of the workers within social care, but they and social care have been left without adequate funding and recognition, hence the forever increasing crisis in social care. Made much worse by 10 years of austerity cuts to Local Authorities, (LAs)  and then massive costs for going on another 2-3 years due to COVID. During this time those in need of social care have been ever increasing numbers and not only that, much increase in complexities for care required.

Many Safeguarding concerns have arisen, but blame has only been made to in dividual social workers and their respective councils and not where it should have been, on this and all previous Governments. Thus causing unnecessary pain  and suffering and at times, deaths to both children and adults.

But the Government and government funding has been the ‘elephant’ in the room, which has never to be mentioned.

This completely wrong and should never have been left to arise.

even when some funding has been made available, it has always been so far short of what is really required and never sustainable. Addition responsibilities have been place on LAs by Governments and never been, seriously funded, if funded at all.

The Select Committees are saying additional funding of £5-7 billion is required now and not the miserly amount offered by this government, but even that is way sort as it has to be, at least £12 billion now, but even that would only bring funding to 2010 levels, which was way short then.

Government and Government Ministers need to take the crisis in social care seriously and give it the extreme priority in needs and deserves.

Source: Adult care bereft of cash for current pressures and long-term reforms, warn MPs – Community Care

Huge rise in GP expenses could make some practices unviable within two years | The BMJ

It is well-known that the NHS is in crisis and little is being done to remedy it, lack of staff, abundance of patients, lack of funding and a major crisis in Social Care for similar reasons, but the Social Care crisis could be much more serious than that in the NHS. However, while the Government and all previous Government have been prepared to look at the NHS, but by doing so, they have in some respects added to the crisis, the Social care crisis is totally with the Governments due their  considerable inactions and apparent indifference to Social Care.

But, while Social Care is a major factor in the NHS, lets just look at Primary Care and GP practices.

I should mention that Dentistry is also a problem and could well be as bad, if not more so than GP practices for trying to find a NHS Dentist is like ‘looking for a needle in a Haystack’, which could well be so for GP practices if the problems can’t be sorted.

There is a major shortage of GPs and newly qualified doctors are reluctant to become GPs, in fact many, while qualifying in the UK, leave the UK when qualified. This is due to the finance of GP salaries and GP surgeries and the stresses caused within practices.

Trying to obtain GP appointment even virtually by telephone, let alone face to face are very difficult and this is causing a massing of patients for GPs attending A&E instead, causing even more lengthy delays in A&Es making it impossible to meet ‘targets’, especially the 4 hour wait and thereby creating problems for ambulances having to wait outside hospitals as they are unable to transfer their patients into A&E.

But GPs in short supply in GP practices are not the only problems as obtaining other staff are also problems, as there are insufficient receptionists, practice nurses and others. So major stresses for all concerned.

Then with practice expenses increasing, not only staff salaries, but there are also energy price increases and price increases for products used in the surgery, such as cleaning and PPE and others.

In fact, instead of stating the problems, it could be easier to state what is going right or not a problem.

Well, just the NHS, as with all the problems the NHS is still better than health services in other countries, especially as it is, mostly free at the point of delivery, with the exceptions of Dentists, Opticians and prescriptions, but they are still heavily subsidised.

The NHS was and still is a great concept and one that we need to maintain and have much less privatisation, which is creeping into the NHS.

But the Government, when we eventually have one, needs to sort out the finances, before the NHS and also Social Care disintegrates into nothing.

Source: Huge rise in GP expenses could make some practices unviable within two years | The BMJ

‘Desk-based social work that can be done from anywhere’: Ofsted issues warning over remote working – Community Care

Yet another issue affecting Social workers on top of all the others.

Yes, remote working could be a major issue, as if other measures are not implemented for supervision then this could be problematic for all social workers be they experienced or not. Then would supervision be done remotely also.

But, surely ‘hot desking’ was just as problematic, but maybe for other reasons.

No matter what none of this solves the burdens of work, for social workers are still very seriously over worked, which lack of supervision could easily add more problems to.

Supervision is essential for it is an opportunity for social workers to raise any issues they have, but then will they be listened to, especially in the current climate of lack of finance for social care.

The working loads, the work pressures, lack of supervision and maybe more so, lack of consulting their peers and others all adds to the stresses of social work and could well affect the quality. That in turn would cause problems for those who the social workers have in their caseload, so problems for everyone all round, with a Government not listening, the ‘elephant’ in the room, whom no one wishes to mention, but are behind the finance problems.

For someone who is a carer of someone in a social workers caseload, many problems do occur, of which communication is a major issue. As, with working from home there is no central point to find answers on a social workers availability, so if phone calls and emails don’t produce communications when needed that creates another failure of the system.

A system which is seriously underfunded, serious lack of social workers availability due to insufficiencies of social workers and over work burdens, causing ‘burnout’ leading to essential time off, thereby either increasing workload for the social workers left, or issues not being dealt with, or maybe now being temporarily being looked after an agency social worker, who needs not only to understand the system the local authority uses but getting to know person requiring a social worker, when sufficient time may not be available, leading to disconnect and maybe errors creating even more problems.

The problems with Social Care are not resting in isolation, for these problems could well cause increases in safeguarding concerns causing more to an overburdened workload and more calls on finance. But, not only that for insufficiencies in Social care cause health problems both mentally and other conditions, hence increasing problems and workloads for the NHS in many areas, including mental health which is another insufficiently funded and resourced area in addition to all the others. Not even mentioning community and public health.

The ‘elephant’ needs to be dealt with, but when Government is not listening the problems get worse, which is why there are these serious problems today, due to not only this Government not listening, but every previous government. But, the blame is never placed at the Government, but on the social worker and maybe, eventually the Local Authority.

So, everyone suffers, except the Government who should be made to shoulder the blame.


Source: ‘Desk-based social work that can be done from anywhere’: Ofsted issues warning over remote working – Community Care

If we were getting proper care and support, there wouldn’t be premature deaths happening.

So true, and while the NHS is beginning to show some signs of understanding learning disability (LD) and autism there is still a very long way to go.

Until persons with LD and autism are given the priority they should always have had, then early deaths will occur. But, it is not just the NHS, but also social care and mainly the Government.

Unfortunately, this and previous Governments have done very little to address LD and autism. You only have to look at the COVID pandemic to see how persons with LD and autism were not on their agenda. Fir while it should have been obvious that in the vaccine programme that they should have been treated within the priority categories they were not dome so, initially.

For, to some extent, there still is the ‘out of site, out of mind’, as can be seen with persons being referred to specialist hospitals. If the resources were there then these referrals would not be necessary, but that would require a fully funded social care system as well as appropriate housing be available, not just in a few places but in every part of the UK.

Just in the last few days has there been a Select Committee report, which this Government is apparently ignoring. well they have other apparently more urgent priorities in electing a new leader of the Tory Party and Prime Minister. Not once as Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss made any comments on learning disability and autism, so that is proof as to how they view its importance.

But, it is not just this Government but all previous Governments who have not taken learning disability and autism seriously and in doing so, have ignored the extreme crisis in Social Care and only looking at the NHS when it suits them.

To effectively alter how LD and autism is dealt with not only have resources need to be made available directly to those with LD and autism, but the whole of social care needs urgent financing, then in doing so, could the extent of needing the NHS be eventually reduced, so ensuring not only the crisis in social care is resolved but also the NHS.

It will take time and any delays will only extend that time and in doing so the crisis in both social care and NHS will continue to escalate.


Source: If we were getting proper care and support, there wouldn’t be premature deaths happening.

Assessment Dirty Tricks To Be Urgently Investigated | Same Difference

It is disgraceful and shows no respect for disability claimants and if these were indeed ‘dirty tricks’ it just shows how despicable the DWP is and reinforces why no one trusts the DWP.

This is no way to run a Government department and casts an extremely wary ‘eye’ on every aspect of Government.


Source: Assessment Dirty Tricks To Be Urgently Investigated | Same Difference

Unless Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak act fast on the NHS, the Tories risk losing the next election

Yes, Truss and Sunak need to act fast on the NHS, but if they continue to ignore Social Care, no matter what they act on the NHS will be a waste of time as to fully act on the NHS urgent action is also required on Social Care for they are and will be forever need to work as one.

For, if the NHS has been neglected, then Social Care has been completely abandoned by this Government and many, if not all previous Governments

So, ignoring Social Care means the NHS will be ignored also, so Truss Sunak ignore Social Care at your peril.

Source: Unless Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak act fast on the NHS, the Tories risk losing the next election

Adult social care vacancies up 52% over past year – Community Care

As it has been said, vacancies and recruitment have been problems for some many years, but it has become much worse recently.

However, pay is not the only reason as Brexit and UK immigration policy have also had their impact. but there are also others being

1. travel including travel expenses, fuel is a major problem, certainly with its current high costs, but travel expenses for care workers are not generally available, except that mileage may be paid as expenses, but not always but travel time should also be paid.

2. unsocial hours should also be a factor in pay

3. as should working Bank Holidays while, as well as being given back the day worked, extra pay should be paid for doing so

4. sick pay is also an issue as there should be a recognised sick pay scheme for care workers, as with the low pay rates, being sick and having to rely on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is not realistic, especially when the first 3 days are not paid at all when on SSP

5. as to the pay rate £15.00 would be more realistic than the current National Living Wage of £9.50 or even the Real Living Wage of £9.90,  or even the £12.77 quoted in the article

6. Care work needs to be recognised as a profession and its public perception greatly improved, as is the case for social care in general

But for any or all of the above to be achieved the Government needs to take onboard the crisis in social care and not ignore it as has been so for all previous Governments.

Yes, this Government did promise a fraction of the £5.1 billion, supposed to be funded by the NI surcharge, but none of this is guaranteed, which it has to be and much more, to £12 billion. But that would only bring the funding back to 2010 levels which, then, was totally inadequate.

Social care needs to be adequately funded, which it has never been and until it is persons in need of care will be left to suffer or much worse, even death and this lack of recognition and funding is seriously adding to the NHS crisis.

Some will say bring all social care back to Local Authorities, but it was not a real success when it was and it would remove choice from the system completely, which has to be maintained for the choices of persons in need of care should always be respected. So all the above 1-6 and more needs to be done and done urgently so that people in need of care and their families are safeguarded.

While Local Authorities have to be made accountable, even more so should the Government be and be blamed for all that is occurring though years of inactions and ignoring the problems.

Source: Adult social care vacancies up 52% over past year – Community Care