By Debbie le Quesne

NHS chief’s bombshell comment still causing care home waves

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 A number of weeks ago now, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said he was looking forward to the demise of nursing homes,

The fallout from his “It would be a disappointment if in 30, 40, 50 years’ time, nursing homes still existed” is still ongoing.

I initially thought I would reserve judgment and his comment was so contemptuous it was not worth putting pen to paper so to speak.

Nursing homes, Mr Stevens? Really? So where do we put the chronically sick, elderly and frail? Who will care for them? The NHS? I think not.

There is a distinct difference between nursing and residential homes, though Mr Stevens was reported after he made the comment at an Age UK conference that had meant all care homes.

Like many, I’m left questioning that there perhaps is an agenda that has not yet been revealed. Whatever, Mr Stevens appears to possess knowledge the care industry is lacking.

It’s been noted in the media that he made the remark after a working trip to the US, where ‘nursing home’ is a generic term.

Maybe a slip of the tongue, but either way a disappointing one.

With the consultation period on the Care Act now complete, it will start taking effect from April. But there is still a chorus of concern that interpretation on some issues is unclear.

Mr Stevens’ comment – I suspect a deliberate bombshell – does nothing to – create the much-needed stable platform from which to launch such legislation.

Meanwhile, a joint submission by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services is warning that the regulations, as they stand, appear to give local councils responsibility for accessing “medical services” when identifying people’s needs.

 Similarly, the associations point out, the regulations require councils to give people information and advice on available services including “effective treatment and support for health conditions”. As the submission states: “This suggests social care staff giving information and advice outside of their knowledge base.”

I can see the boundaries between social care and NHS becoming increasingly sticky ground. No doubt the legal arguments over wordings will emerge soon enough and with them a boatload of cash being sunk with the real winners being the lawyers.

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