There can be several reasons why this social care is absent, but most come down to a lack of money. Fining the council responsible will not make more money available.I read that the government has warned local authorities that funding will be cut if councils do not hit targets to free up beds in hospitals. I have always been dubious about the principle of fining public bodies if they fail to meet targets. After all, if you take away cash from a cash-starved body, all you do is make it more difficult to meet the next lot of targets. In this case, though the situation is worse. What is the cause of bed-blocking in North Devon? Answer twofold. One, the closure, as a result of government policy, of most of the beds in community hospitals, such as the Tyrrell, means that there is no intermediate stage between a full hospital bed and being sent home. Two, the reason why many patients cannot be sent home when there is no longer a medical reason for their remaining in hospital is that they require social care which cannot be guaranteed. There can be several reasons why this social care is absent, but most come down to a lack of money. Fining the council responsible will not make more money available.
Of course, even dafter than this is when a hospital is fined for failing to meet one of its many targets. I sometimes wonder what planet politicians are living on!
The last couple of weeks I have mentioned reports by the Care Quality Commission on the state of our NHS hospitals, reports which generally do not make happy reading. This week, a report from the same Commission is much more positive, but, rather than being about hospitals, it is about hospices. A staggering 95% of them are good or outstanding. Would that our hospitals came anywhere close to that. I would guess that a significant factor in that result is that hospices are mostly financed privately, generally by donation, and so escape the constant meddling by governments of all political colours in their governance and financing.
North Devon Hospice is rated “good” for being safe, effective, responsive and well-led. It is rated “outstanding” for being caring, a rating with which I am sure all who have had dealings with it would endorse. Like, I suspect most of us who have given it any thought, I assumed the hospice was well funded, so I was surprised to learn that last year it made a loss of half a million pounds!
I know that money is tight for most of us, but, if you can afford it, this must be a charity well worth supporting. If you are a UK tax payer, please tick the “gift aid” box – this ensures that the taxman will add 25% to your donation at no cost to you – effectively, you, not the Chancellor of the Exchequer, are determining how that small portion of your tax money is spent. The hospice has a website at http://www.northdevonhospice.org.uk/, and you can donate via that or directly at https://secure.northdevonhospice.org.uk/donations/donate.aspx.
In a recent court case, a fly-tipper, with a previous conviction, was, of course, fined. However, his vehicle, which had been confiscated, was returned to him. Surely this is unduly lenient. Fly-tipping costs the community and individuals considerable sums, which far outweigh the benefit to the fly-tipper, and any action to deter criminals must surely be taken.
Whilst I certainly do not condone fly-tipping, councils cannot escape some blame for it. every time they increase charges for disposing of waste or restrict what they collect or accept at recycle centres, fly-tipping increases. So the financial saving to the council is simply passed on elsewhere in the community, often to individuals, perhaps farmers or other landowners, who then have the responsibility and cost of clearing it. at the end of the day, this benefits no one.
I have heard some further news about Marcus Hutchins. If you are interested, you can read about it at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/21/security_roundup/. The good news is that the judge has relaxed his bail conditions. The bad news is that the US government have appealed. Having read the judgement, I would expect the appeal to fail, so the government’s appeal looks merely vindictive. Donations to help fund his defense may be made at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/malwaretech/.