Vulnerable people are being made a priority home care call as snow hits much of the UK, with a red alert issued for care workers to attend.
One company has used its red, amber and green system ensures bedbound people living at home alone are the designated the first priority because they are the most vulnerable.
The Office for National Statistics has published data on the ‘Sandwich Generation’ – those who care for both their parents and dependent children.
The report found that they are more likely to suffer from mental ill-health, feel less satisfied with life and face financial struggles than the rest of the population.
The 10-year plan for the future of the NHS was announced last week, it outlines how the NHS budget will be spent over the next five years.
Broadly, its stated aims are to: enable everyone to get the best start in life, help communities to live well and help people to age well.
The plan focuses on prevention as a way of reducing financial pressures on healthcare, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock made prevention one of his top three priorities during his first speech in the role last year.
New ‘smart homes’ are to be created to help elderly and disabled people tackle loneliness in rural areas, according to Open Access Government.
The pilot, to take place in West Essex, will train residents to develop digital skills so they can become experts in a technology called ‘digital buddies’.
They will then open their homes for older people to visit and learn about smart technology, for example showing them how to control household appliances, book doctor’s appointments online, video chat with friends, and order online shopping.
A voluntary scheme which offers transport to a rural west Suffolk health centre will now be able to continue after five councillors “answered a call for help”. (East Anglian Daily Times)
Passengers are being encouraged to talk to someone new on some Yorkshire Coast buses. East Yorkshire Motor Services has launched a "chatty bus" campaign on a few of its Scarborough and District services. The company is increasing its efforts in the fight against loneliness and social isolation. (Yorkshire Coast Radio)
An elderly resident in the Harrogate district has been stuck in a care home for six months, after eight care companies were unable to provide services.
Michael Harrison, the lead councillor for adult services in North Yorkshire, has told Stray FM about two of the worst cases unable to get social care at home.
One of the biggest challenges in North Yorkshire is finding care companies who can afford to send carers into rural areas. (Stray FM)
As a result, patients in isolated areas are faced to wait longer for treatment, and are far more likely to fall victim to bedblocking, the analysis finds.
The research found that the funding situation has become so precarious that six of England’s smallest and most remote hospital trusts now account for nearly a quarter of the £1bn NHS provider deficit.
And it said funding formulas failed to take proper account of the fact those living in rural areas were likely to be older and sicker than the average population.
On average, at small remote hospitals just 84 per cent of patients were treated in Accident and Emergency within four hours, compared with 90 per cent of those in other trusts, the analysis found.
Just 79 per cent of those needing treatment began it within 18 weeks, compared with 85 per cent of those elsewhere.
The number of days lost to bedblocking was far higher in remote small hospitals, the analysis found, with 118 per 1,000 admissions, compared with 81 per 1,000 admissions in other trusts. And their average deficit was four times that of other trusts, the study found.
Researchers said NHS trusts in rural areas were facing cost pressures which were not properly compensated.
This included difficulties recruiting staff, meaning higher reliance on costly agency staff, the study commissioned by the National Centre for Rural Health and Care found.
In summary, the main challenges facing rural areas face in securing the supply of staff that the health and care service needs are that:
The main opportunities for securing workforce supply and maximising impact are:
The Inquiry was limited to England and has been conducted to enable the APPG to submit evidence to, and to respond to the specific issues contained in, the Government’s Proposed Green Paper on the subject to be published later in 2018.
The Rural Services Network provides the Secretariat for the APPG on Rural Services.
Rebecca Pow MP, one of the Joint Chairs of the APPG is submitting the Interim report as a result of the Inquiry to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
The report sets out a number of Overarching Recommendations, Resource Distributional Recommendations and Workforce Planning Recommendations.
The overarching Recommendations include:
The Rural Services Network has long campaigned for Fairer Funding for Rural Areas. Central Government has historically and systematically underfunded rural areas giving them less grant per head than urban areas – despite the fact that it costs more to provide the services. Rural residents earn less on average than those in urban areas and pay more Council Tax for fewer local government services. Government policy, implicitly, is that council services in rural areas are more reliant on funding through council tax than their urban counterparts. We demand fairer funding for all public services serving rural areas and wait to see what relief the Green Paper on Social Care will bring!
We are launching the RSN Seminar Programme for 2019 with 7 seminars in regions around England, each focusing on a different subject. The South East Seminar due to be held in April focuses on Rural Vulnerability and the July Seminar in the East Midlands focuses on health and wellbeing. All paying members of the RSN which includes the RHCA are able to attend the seminars and more information is available here
There will also be two additional seminars run by the National Centre for Rural Health and Care focusing on rural health and further details will be released in due course.
The APPG for Rural Health and Care Parliamentary Inquiry has been established to look at the key issues facing the country in terms of providing good quality and effective health and social care in rural settings. The Inquiry will explore how England has developed its systems post-Beveridge, testing whether we now have a one size fits all model focused more on the needs of urban areas than rural communities.
The Inquiry is focusing on current practice and what needs to change to meet the specific challenges facing rural populations . Over the next 2 years it will hold 8 evidence sessions. The Inquiry is co-chaired by Anne Morris Morris, M.P. for Newton Abbot, and The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dame Sarah Mullally Bishop of London. 2 sessions have already been held a further six are scheduled to cover:
What is not working in rural communities and why? Can the new centralising hub spoke models of care across primary, secondary and social care work with such dispersed communities with great variety of footfall between winter and summer seasons? Do the family and the third sector fill the gaps? Does the funding formula meet rural needs?
What are the workforce challenges and opportunities? Is rural working less attractive? How many unfilled vacancies are there in rural areas – around 70%? Do the golden hello handshakes to GPs work? Can health and care nurses work across their professional boundaries? Are the higher rates of dementia being met? What is the role of volunteers?
What are the education and training challenges and opportunities? Should rural experience be a mandatory part of training? Should we train more specialist generalists, like physician associates? Should Royal Colleges collaborate on cross specialist training? Should more medical schools be established in rural areas?
Are there structural challenges fitting current delivery models into a rural setting with different needs? Can/should the Northumbria model and/or Torbay coastal models be replicated? Will “stretching” existing models be enough? How should regulatory reporting be adjusted? How can budget and reporting line barriers be overcome?
What are the technology opportunities and challenges? What role should technology play in medical service delivery, diagnosis and treatment? What role could it play in social care and urgent and emergency care? Could its communication attributes be more innovatively used in public health?
What are the Integration opportunities and threats? How can service delivery be integrated to maximise care and treatment over distance, and across multiple co-morbidities? What part should families and communities play? How can the voluntary sector be better integrated into primary and secondary care?
The secretariat for the Inquiry is being provided by the National Centre for Rural Health and Care, which was established early in 2018. This organisation is Chaired by Professor Richard Parish and the Secretariat will also comprise Ivan Annibal, Director of Operations, and Dr. Jessica Sellick, Senior Research Fellow. More information about the Inquiry can be found on their website: https://www.ncrhc.org/about
The RSN Observatory provides a statistical overview of rural life. It provides analyses and comment on key service provision and issues affecting rural communities.
It includes information on housing, health, the economy and local services.
That it costs more to deliver health and care in rural areas is well-rehearsed among RSN members. But how much more does it actually cost to deliver in rural areas and are these costs recognised in current funding formulae?
Jessica Sellick investigates (Read more...)
The Rural Health & Care Alliance is a membership organisation dedicated to providing news, information, innovation and best practice to those delivering and interested in rural health and care
The Rural Health & Care Alliance (RHCA) has been established through a partnership between the National Centre for Rural Health and Care and the Rural Services Network (RSN) and is affiliated to both the National Centre and the RSN.
We want to create a strong collective voice to draw attention to issues relating to health and care in rural communities. This voice is currently lacking – no such forum or alliance presently exists - we aim to change that.
Issues such as vulnerability, isolation and loneliness sit at the heart of our rural communities across the UK. With these challenges come the additional cost and workforce requirements of delivering effective services to improve healthcare outcomes for those living and working in these communities.
We will develop the Alliance through the sharing of information, case studies and best practice from the local to the global level. We will exercise influence right at the heart of policy making in the UK by engaging with decision makers and opinion formers through the partnership between The National Centre for Rural Health and Care and the Rural Services Network.
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