Let the NHS take over management of care for the elderly

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From: RC Dales, Church View, Brompton, Northallerton.

YOUR editorial (Yorkshire Post, June 20) entitled “PM’s golden chance on care” as usual hit the nail on the head. This is an opportunity for David Cameron to regain some public confidence.

Care for the aged (and the disabled) will continue to be a shambles for as long as the care and support service is practised by 162 different councils, with no uniformity on carers’ recruitment, training and control.

Some councils contract out this to “care companies” whose aim of course is to make a profit, so it is not surprising if they employ as few carers as possible and restrict the time each carer spends in the homes of the oldies. And when the councils had to make budget cuts, different percentages were used so the quality of care differs even more between regions.

Nor is there uniformity in the charges made on those old people who managed to accumulate a nest egg for their retirement; where this exceeds £23,250 depending on where they live, can be charged from very little, say £8 per hour, to nearly £18! And isn’t it time this nonsense was stopped altogether?

Many of those being charged continue to pay council and income taxes, part of which pays for the care service, as they have done before retirement.

The answer is this: one national organisation should be responsible for this service so there is uniformity and an acceptable standard of service achieved, and as “care” cannot be divorced from “health” that organisation should be the NHS.

But the councils should pay the NHS annually what the service is at present costing them, plus any underpayments and subject to any inflation extra and the NHS would not charge for the care service.

A new separate organisation must not be considered. There has been too much empire building, and existing experience is needed.

If any additional staff would be required by the NHS this could be recruited from council and care company staff with experience of care. Care at home would be rescued, and the care homes (also run to make a profit?) should be extensions of the NHS hospital service, possibly also reducing the “bed blockage” problem.

My removing the criticism that care should not be a profit-making business the public conscience would be relieved.

From: Terry Morrell, Prunus Avenue, Willerby, East Yorkshire.

REGARDING Mr Coxon’s letter (Yorkshire Post, June 25), nursing has changed considerably since the 60s and 70s where many technical innovations demand a higher educational standard for staff to comprehend and carry out, However this is only a very small part of a nurse’s duties with direct compassionate care being the priority.

I am afraid that the vocational aspect of nursing has succumbed to the professional desires of the elite who are responsible for the necessary academic requirements for our present day nurse. He is also correct when he refers to the Cadet scheme but this should be extended to a situation where all student nurses spend at least six months on the wards involved in patient care before entering university to achieve their statutory qualification. The present system means that they arrive on the ward fully qualified but with no practical experience and we wonder why they are reluctant to get their hands dirty and get involved with the real situation.

He quotes “Ely, South Ockendon and Whittingham” as nursing disasters but in truth these problems were caused through gross underfunding of that type of care, leading to any Tom Dick or Harry being allowed to do the job.

We do not even have the old grade of SEN to fall back onto who were the backbone of basic care. Until the system reverts to “patients’ needs first”, I am afraid we will have continuing failures in the way we look after people in hospital.