Have your say

This week’s Have your say asks is it useful for service
users to know what star rating their local authority was

What do you think of the star rating

Have your say by clicking
and your comments will appear in this
section of the website on 5 July.


Last week’s Have your say debate was about the rights of
older people, and we asked are their basic rights being denied once
they are placed in a care home? Or is it unrealistic to expect
local authorities to offer a wide choice of residential

These are the responses we received:

The real problem no one seems to be addressing
is our ability to meet the future needs of older people requiring
nursing care. This cannot be provided other than on a 24-hour
basis, and it is simply impractical to imagine this can be met
through anything other than residential care.

The examples in the article of home care being provided in
15-minute time slots which neither meet physical or social needs
only serves to reinforce my argument. Of course, there is a place
for home care and sheltered housing and these may represent a
better alternative where older people are less dependent – but
there is a point at which this will fall down and nursing care is
the only answer.

My concern is that we will simply have not either the quantity
or quality of services to meet the widely predicted demand from
older people from 2005, remembering the 85 years plus population is
set to increase by 50 per cent over the next 25 years. At the
present time, the inadequacy of fee levels and the short term
nature of commitments on the part of the public sector provides no
incentive for investment in new care homes to meet the increasing
expectations of tomorrow’s older people. We urgently need a planned
approach to this problem with decisions made about the amount of
capacity required and its nature, backed up by realistic funding
and long term contractual commitments.

Frank Richardson

chief executive,

Craegmoor Healthcare

Older people’s basic rights are being denied
because of the bureaucratic framework in which social workers have
to practice. This is the priority in social care now, not the
provision of services.

Clients have such a limited choice, determined by which
organisations can complete the forms accordingly. Good agencies are
not allowed to provide a service because they’ve been unable to
complete the forms in the right way.

Local authorities do not have the funding available to be able
to offer a wide range of residential care unfortunately. The
governments of the present and the past have continually
down-graded older people’s services leaving virtually no choice for

Again bureaucracy has lessened choice – homes cannot be flexible
in their approach as it’s not set up in guidelines. The new minimum
care standards are to be welcomed in some ways, but now all you see
home managers doing is completing their

Anna Fleming

Social worker

East Ham assessment and care management team

The older people’s right to choose is a
muddled state of affairs, amidst a variety of interpretations about
what constitutes rights and desires.

It would therefore be helpful to cut free once and for all from
the traditional, well meaning way of thinking which, is determined
to hold onto the historical accident of replicating “work houses”
“retro-asylums” (with nicer furnishings) instead of grasping the

By grasping the nettle I mean, the urgency to start making sure
that we slow down the pace of prescribing what and how old people
should or should not be treated and ensure that it is them
(tomorrow us) who decide.

Any attempts to interfere with that should be subject to the
same sanctions as any other interference of criminal nature
perpetrated by equally unscrupulous people, but who may and in many
instances do, hold different credentials.

Lets move away from the mater/paternalistic, benevolent and
intoxicating stereotyping of old people and lets work actively to
safeguard the rights of all, to at least, decent treatment from the
state (after all our taxes are not low) and from predators such as
promoters of institutional care, the majority of who mainly care
for increasing profits.

There is a need to meet public expectations that these modern
work houses should exist as being “nice places”, nice indicating
the level of ignorance that the state, the media and many stale
thinkers promote. They have no concept that many real pleasures of
life such as privacy, space, peace, own time, own company, own
table, own bed, own clothes, own radio, own visitors, own letter
box, own windows etc. are a personal choice and a right denied in a
greater scale, when because of age, people are expected to fit into
a chamber of niceties found nice and better by others rather than
by older people themselves.

Let’s start at the issue of rights from somewhere sensible. The
right to access accurate, up-to-date, relevant, and clear
information is being denied to most old people today in the UK. It
seems reasonable to deduce from this, that all other rights are
therefore being denied. To select aspects of older people’s
humanity to promote worthy but isolated causes, leads to
inadvertently contributing to the denial of their

A social worker



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