Hinterland - Friday, 15 June 2018

This week in Hinterland, we have a bevy of new health related stories, Michaels Gove’s coffee cup and a contemporary spin on Arnold Lane by Pink Floyd…

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Adult social care services on brink of collapse, survey shows

This resonates with the emerging information we are collecting for our input to the next rural services APPG. It tells us:

Social care services for vulnerable adults are on the verge of collapse in some areas of England, despite the provision of extra government funding, senior council officials have warned.

The fragile state of many council social care budgets – coupled with growing demand for services, increasing NHS pressure, and spiralling staff costs – is highlighted in research by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass).

It says councils “cannot go on” without a sustainable long-term funding strategy to underpin social care and warns that continuing cuts to budgets risk leaving thousands of people who need care being left without services.

“The overall picture is of a sector struggling to meet need and maintain quality in the context of rising costs, increasingly complex care needs, a fragile provider market and pressures from an NHS which itself is in critical need of more funding,” the annual “state of the nation” survey says.

cuts of £700m in 2018-19, equivalent to nearly 5% of the total £14.5bn budget. Since 2010, social care spending in England has shrunk by £7bn.

A government green paper on adult social care funding is expected in the next few weeks, and while councils are hopeful this could put budgets on a firmer footing over time, they warn that extra funding is needed to shore up services in the short term.

“Social care is essentially about making sure we not only look after people with profound and increasingly complex needs, but also help many transform their lives. Sadly, however, this budget survey reveals, once again this essential care and support is just not being given the resources it needs,” said the president of Adass, Glen Garrod.

Town rallies around mother told not to hang her washing out by launching ‘laundry revolution’

I love the rural quirkiness of this story. There is a serious undertow to this however. The local traders whose attitudes provoked the whole thing are typical of the kind of negative backdrop to any form of individual expression in any number of small towns across rural England.

It was once the epicentre of the fight against the Catholic monarch James II, earning a reputation as “the most rebellious town in Devon” after its men volunteered in droves to follow the Duke of Monmouth.

Now the winds of dissent are once more blowing through Colyton, but this time over the delicate matter of underwear.

Where once the struggle was over the question of religion and who could lay rightful claim to the throne, today’s uprising turns on a woman’s right to hang her smalls out in public.

It began when Claire Mountjoy, a mother of three, received an email from local traders instructing her not to hang her washing out to dry for fear it would lower the tone of the neighbourhood.

In response hundreds of fellow residents have taken to displaying bras, nighties, pants and other items of laundry outside their homes in a show of solidarity with Ms Mountjoy.

Petrol prices should be cut to reflect fall in wholesale costs, RAC says

It really is time someone got a macro-economic grip of the behaviour of all forms of energy retail. This story, which is in a long line of such tales reveals yet more unreasonable behaviour. It tells us:

There is “no good reason” why fuel retailers are refusing to cut prices, a motoring organisation has claimed.

Forecourt prices should be reduced by 2p per litre (ppl) to reflect a drop in wholesale costs, according to the RAC.

Drivers have suffered a rise in fuel prices almost every day since the end of April despite wholesale costs coming down by around 2.5ppl since May 24.

Average UK forecourt prices currently stand at £1.29 per litre for unleaded and £1.33 for diesel.

This is the most expensive both fuels have been since September 2014.

The RAC says recent falls in wholesale costs have been caused by the US drilling for more oil than in recent years, increased output from Russia and ongoing speculation oil producing group Opec will end its restriction on production.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Our data shows it’s high time retailers cut the price of petrol and diesel at the pumps.

“We see no good reason for them to wait before passing on savings they are benefiting from.

“Motorists really felt the impact of rising prices in May, when the cost of filling up a petrol family car jumped by around £3.30 in a single month.

“We are now well into June, and drivers are still waiting for some relief to rising prices.

Councils tighten reins on personalised care

I had an inspirational meeting with Sian from Community Catalysts earlier this week. We talked about the role personal budgets could play in paying for community enterprise solutions to the challenge of sustainable domiciliary care in rural settings. I subsequently read this article and felt very deflated! It tells us.

What bothers McCarthy is that, in common with more than 30,000 other people with personal budgets, her funding is no longer sent to her bank account as a direct payment, but is loaded on to a prepaid card. Not only does this enable her local council to check exactly how she is spending it, but it gives it the power to veto expenditure it disapproves of.

The concerns arise as a consultation closed last Friday on proposals to extend the right to a personal budget to up to 350,000 more people in England living with long-term physical or mental health conditions, including dementia and learning disabilities. Speaking at a conference last week, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “We’re going to put a lot of welly behind personalised care over the next few years. It’s central to the future of the NHS.”

When personal budgets became available for people with long-term support needs, in the early 2000s, much attention focused on the freedom they gave individuals to pay for things that worked best for them. Instead of going to a day centre, they might pay for art classes, or buy fishing tackle, or even get a dog to get them out of the house.

Government to relax immigration rules on overseas doctors

This makes very good sense…

Thousands more overseas doctors will be able to come and work in the NHS after Theresa May heeded pleas from cabinet colleagues to scrap limits that hospital bosses had criticised as “absolutely barmy”.

The relaxation of immigration rules, which is due to be announced imminently, represents a victory for Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid and follows a vociferous campaign by NHS organisations and medical groups.

They have been arguing that medics should be taken out of the cap on skilled workers allowed to work in Britain, in order to help tackle the NHS’s deepening workforce crisis.

Hunt, the health and social care secretary, and Javid, the home secretary, have been privately lobbying the prime minister to ease restrictions that between November and April denied more than 2,300 doctors from outside the European Economic Area the chance to work in the NHS.

Under the current immigration system the number of non-EEA skilled workers of all sorts able to come and work in Britain on a tier-2 visa through a certificate of sponsorship is capped at 20,700 a year – a ceiling set by the Home Office.

However, the government has decided that the NHS’s need for more doctors is so great that they should be treated differently, well-placed sources have told the Guardian. The rethink should mean that doctors are no longer left unable to take up job offers from hospitals and GP surgeries because they cannot get a visa.

There will now be a separate system to decide which medics come.

Recent official figures show that the NHS in England alone is short of 9,982 doctors. Those refused tier-2 visas in recent months have included GPs, psychiatrists and cancer specialists, all of which have a significant number of vacancies.

Michael Gove brings disposable coffee cup to meeting about environmental concerns

Tokenism or trend setting? You decide!!!

Michael Gove turned up to discuss environment issues with ministers carrying a disposable coffee cup, despite leading the country’s efforts to tackle plastic waste.

The environment secretary has previously been pictured using a reusable cup, amid growing pressure to tackle the 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups thrown away in the UK every year.

Mr Gove even handed out bamboo coffee cups to members of the cabinet in January, after ministers were spotted bringing disposable cups to meetings.

However, the reusable version appeared to have been abandoned in favour of a plastic-lined, single-use cup as he gave evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on the work of Defra – including topics such as farming, air quality and post-Brexit plans

About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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