Elderly ‘left hungry as care home tried to cut down on shopping bill’ – inspection report

Your regulators will protect you — NOT. It took staff complaints to get the bureaucrats off their fat behinds. But a bullying manager denies it all so improvement is doubtful

Frail elderly people were routinely left without food after their care home ran out of supplies because of an apparent attempt to “cut down the shopping bill”, an inspection has found.

Staff at Lyndhurst Lodge in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leics, told inspectors they had resorted to buying snacks for residents out of their own pockets because of shortages, the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission said.

The home was issued with a formal warning after a highly critical inspection report also found that it was so short-staffed that at times there were not even enough on hand to help frail people to the lavatory.

Inspectors also reported seeing dirty toilets, broken furniture and found residents were not even dressed in clean clothes while staff had “very limited” training in safeguarding.

There was no budget set aside to provide stimulating activities for the residents, many of whom suffer from dementia, forcing relatives and staff to help out from their own pocket, the report adds.

While morale among the staff was “very, very low” and they privately complained of little support from managers, families of the residents told the CQC that the workers themselves “deserve a medal”.

The home, which caters for 19 elderly people, fell short in three out of the five key inspection areas: providing care that meet people’s needs, safety and staffing.

The owner, Keith Halliwell, has been ordered to report back to the CQC within seven days on what steps are being taken to improve.

Inspectors carried out a an unannounced visit in April amid concerns that the residents were not getting enough to eat.

They found that, while the elderly people themselves did not complain, the staff did have concerns. Residents were given a light meal at dinner time, often just a sandwich, with nothing else available until morning, according to the watchdog.

“Staff at the home told us that they regularly run out of food,” the report notes. “They told us that they do not think people get enough choice of food and that there is very little offered to people who use the service in between meal times.

“They told us that, ‘It’s as though they are trying to cut the shopping bill’. “Sometimes staff bring in snacks for the residents.

“We reviewed the meal logs at the home and observed that the evening meal is often a sandwich or light hot meal. “This was provided to people at 5pm and no other food was offered to people until breakfast the following day.

“The impact of this was that staff were bringing in food paid for themselves to give to residents in the evening.”

The CQC said the home had failed to protect people from hunger or dehydration.

The inspectors noted that staff were struggling to meet even the basic needs of residents. “One person needed to the use the toilet and staff were not able to respond in a timely manner to that need due to dealing with other residents at that time,” they reported.

They added: “There was no clear structure for activities within the home… staff stated that they did not have a budget for activities and would rely on staff members and relatives to help provide provisions for activities.”

The report goes on: “We observed that some people who used the service were not dressed in clean clothes. “The impact of this was a lack of dignity and respect being shown to people who used the service.”

Edward Halliwell, the owner’s son, who is a director in the home, denied that staff had had to bring in food – adding that he had questioned them and they had apparently denied telling the inspectors. “I don’t believe it to be true, I’ve asked the staff to provide me with the receipts and will reimburse them and none have come up yet.

“I’ve seen no evidence of it, the staff have all denied saying this as well, I’m happy to invite the papers to come up and see the home.

He added: “II think somebody has made it up without pointing the finger at anybody. ”I would be surprised if CQC would make it up – the staff have said it but they all denied saying it, I’ve asked each one of them ‘which one of you has brought food in?’

“The residents seem happy and everything else was dealt with in the correct way.” He declined to comment on other aspects of the report.

Andrea Gordon, CQC’s deputy director of operations, said: “Our inspectors will return in the near future and if we find that the required progress is not made we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people who use this service.”


Proud to be British: Jubilee celebrations unite communities from all parts of society with sense of patriotic pride

The Jubilee celebrations may now have finished, but there is no doubt about the lasting legacy they leave behind.

With a crippling economy and world-wide instability in recent years, Britain has had little to cheer about.  But the spectacular celebrations which have taken place over the past four days have brought communities up and down the country together and installed a patriotic pride back into Britain.

People from all aspects of society have joined in the celebrations  – reflecting just how much Britain has changed and modernised during the Queen’s astonishing 60-year reign on the throne.

One of those celebrating today outside St Paul’s Cathedral was Yasmin Majid and her children Adnan and Misbah.  Waiting with her children in the crowd, Ms Majid was proudly decked out in a union jack head scarf, and was thrilled to be celebrating the historic occasion.  Speaking to the BBC, she said: ‘I love the Queen and I love the Royal family. I just wanted to make an effort and get here and be part of the celebrations.’

More than one-and-a-half million people descended on London today to see the conclusion of a spectacular weekend.

The Queen was met with a sea of people head-to-toe in red, white and blue who gathered below the balcony at Buckingham Palace to see her.

The huge crowd sung themselves hoarse with a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory and God Save the Queen as they marched to the gates of the Palace to watch the Royal Family acknowledge their affection.

If anybody was in any doubt that Britain’s love for the monarchy had waned, this national outpouring of pride soon dispelled that belief, in a week that witnessed a huge surge in popularity for the Royals, and particularly the Queen.

When she appeared on the balcony, the Queen broke into a smile – visibly pleased – and waved as the thousands of people roared with applause, some breaking into impromptu renditions of the National Anthem.

In a rare address to the country and Commonwealth this evening, the Queen declared herself deeply humbled by the celebrations.  In a message of thanks broadcast as the festivities drew to a close, she said she was deeply touched to see so many people coming together to mark the occasion in a huge outpouring of positive emotion towards the Royal Family.

Broadcasts by Her Majesty other than the traditional annual Christmas message are infrequent, but this message was prompted by the huge amount of support she has received over last few days.

She said:  ‘The events that I have attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience.  ‘It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.  ‘But Prince Philip and I want to take this opportunity to offer our special thanks and appreciation to all those who have had a hand in organising these Jubilee celebrations.  ‘It has been a massive challenge, and I am sure that everyone who has enjoyed these festive occasions realises how much work has been involved. 

‘I hope that memories of all this year’s happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come.  ‘I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth.  ‘Thank you all.’


A pestilential priest

Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to Queen’s selfless service but hijacks ceremony to preach sermon on financial services greed, the environment and immigration. 

Salvation?  What’s that?  Is  he even a Christian?

His congregation were not enthused

The Archbishop of Canterbury used the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving service today to bring up concerns about environmental recklessness, executive pay and immigration.

While Dr Rowan Williams, who is due to step down shortly, heaped praise on our monarch he used part of his sermon to air the liberal views he has become well known for during his ten years in the role.

The service at St Paul’s was about celebrating the Monarch’s 60 years on the throne and head of the Church of England.

However, Dr Williams brought up financial greed in the City, environmental concerns and launched a thinly veiled attack on a huge section of the population who are worried about the unprecedented levels of immigration in the country.

The Archbishop at first paid tribute to the Queen’s ‘ lifelong dedication’, saying it ‘is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture. But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy.’

He then used that as a springboard to enter more controversial territory, saying the challenge the Jubilee sets the nation is, as St Paul taught us, to be ‘overwhelmed by the promise of a shared joy far greater than narrow individual fulfilment, that we find the strength to take the risks and make the sacrifices – even if this seems to reduce our individual hopes of secure enjoyment.’

In full swing, he went on: ‘Moralists, including Archbishops, can thunder away as much as they like; but they’ll make no difference unless and until people see that there is something transforming and exhilarating about the prospect of a whole community rejoicing together – being glad of each other’s happiness and safety.

‘This alone is what will save us from the traps of ludicrous financial greed, of environmental recklessness, of collective fear of strangers and collective contempt for the unsuccessful and marginal – and many more things that we see far too much of, around us and within us.’

The phrase ‘fear of strangers’ was interpreted by many as a warning to the majority of people in the country who are concerned about the huge rise in immigration into Britain over the last decade and the pressures it has put on British society.

The head of the Anglican Church, who is due to stand down from his role, is well known for his liberal views. He turned on the City of London by calling for a Robin Hood tax on bankers last year.

The coalition Government was represented by Cabinet members, and opposition leader Ed Miliband was also present.

Other groups invited included the Diplomatic Corps, Lord Lieutenants, the Duchy of Cornwall, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Royal Household and leaders from other faiths.

When everyone had taken their seats, the Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s, told the congregation: ‘We come to this Cathedral Church today to give thanks to almighty God for the prosperous reign of the Queen and to rejoice together in this year of Her Majesty’s Jubilee as we celebrate 60 years of her sovereignty and service.

‘As we come together as loyal subjects from all parts of the Realms and Commonwealth of Nations, we give thanks for the blessings bestowed by God on our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, and we celebrate the identity and variety which our nations under her have enjoyed.’

Despite his liberal views, the Archbishop did praise the Queen’s lifelong dedication to country and Commonwealth. He also had words of support for the Duke of Edinburgh.

Dr Williams told those gathered: ‘I don’t think it’s at all fanciful to say that, in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others; she has responded with just the generosity St Paul speaks of in showing honour to countless local communities and individuals of every background and class and race.

‘She has made her ‘public’ happy and all the signs are that she is herself happy, fulfilled and at home in these encounters.

‘The same, of course, can manifestly be said of Prince Philip; and our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning.

‘To declare a lifelong dedication is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture. But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy.’

Dr Williams highlighted how the Queen’s commitment to others had brought her happiness: ‘But we are marking today the anniversary of one historic and very public act of dedication – a dedication that has endured faithfully, calmly and generously through most of the adult lives of most of us here.

‘We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible and that it is a place where happiness can be found.’

After the service, the Queen left the cathedral to a huge cheer from the waiting crowd as the bells rang out loudly. She stopped midway down the steps to wave to the public.

It’s not the first time Dr Williams has been controversial.

Last year he spoke out about how society is paying for the ‘errors and irresponsibility of bankers’ – yet in the City it remains ‘business as usual’ with ‘still-soaring bonuses and little visible change in banking practices’.

And in the most brazen political intervention by a head of the Church of England for more than two decades, Dr Williams questioned the democratic legitimacy of the Coalition in an article for the left-wing New Statesman magazine.

Dr Williams, who was selected as Archbishop of Canterbury in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year in 2002, has a reputation for being liberal and controversial.

Many voiced doubt before he took the role as he backed the separation of church and state in England. He has been critical of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in political statements he has made over the years.

He was also in the reformer’s camp on both the issue of women bishops and openly gay clergy, but in the face of huge opposition from the conservative element of the church he has been forced to sit on the fence, pleasing no-one.

In 2009 he was forced to defend his controversial comments about the introduction of Islamic law to Britain.


The THING that this unfortunate woman encountered is a living definition of what the British call a “jobsworth”

Britain is full of them

A woman in a wheelchair who asked for a key to the disabled toilets was horrified when council staff told her to provide proof that she really had spina bifida.

Nicola Parnell, 32, visited East Staffordshire Borough Council’s customer services office to buy access to the facilities at her local shopping centre in Burton-on-Trent.

But she said jobsworth staff demanded she produce evidence of her chronic illness – despite the fact she was in a wheelchair and her body is the size of a 10-year-old’s.

‘She said I’d need to go home and come back with some identification; either my blue badge or a letter showing my disability living allowance.

‘What more proof did she need than me being in front of her in a wheelchair? I clearly look disabled.  ‘My body is about the same size as a 10-year-old’s – surely that is enough proof.’

Ms Parnell claims she asked a receptionist to look for her details on the council’s computer system as she had been to the office a month earlier to update her blue badge.  ‘She told me she couldn’t access my details and she could no longer help me unless I had proof of my disability’, she added.

‘I was completely stunned and upset by what happened. I was shocked. I felt discriminated against.  ‘I want to raise awareness of how disabled people can be treated. I’ve never had to prove that I’m disabled before, especially just to buy a toilet key.’

Ms Parnell has now lodged a formal complaint about the incident.

A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: ‘The council prides itself on good customer service and it is unfortunate that Ms Parnell’s experience was not a positive one.

‘The issue with the key has been resolved and the customer has been contacted.

‘Our staff are well aware that, while there are guidelines to follow, they can, and in the majority of cases do, act with an element of discretion, as should have been displayed on this occasion.  ‘This message has been reaffirmed to all the staff.’


British university ‘malaise’ forcing bright students to US

Growing numbers of bright teenagers are rejecting British universities in favour of those in the United States amid claims they no longer represent value for money, a leading headmaster has warned.

Students are being forced to seek courses on the other side of the Atlantic because institutions in this country are stuck in a “malaise”, according to Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College, Berkshire.

He said cash-strapped British universities provided less contact time with lecturers and displayed only a “perfunctory interest” in sport and the arts.

The comments – in a new book published by The Good Schools Guide – come as figures show a surge in the number of pupils applying to study in the United States.

According to data, the proportion of students taking the US college entrance exam in Britain increased by a third last year compared with 2008. In all, more than 10,000 applicants sat the main admissions test, it was revealed.

The rising interest is believed to be driven by pupils from independent and grammar schools seeking to escape annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 in Britain from September.

But writing in the new book, Uni In The USA, Dr Seldon said the exodus was “down to far more than economics”.  “American universities in particular celebrate breadth of achievement far more than those in Britain, where only a perfunctory interest is shown in sporting or artistic prowess, or whether one held positions of responsibility and contributed to charitable activities,” he said.

Dr Seldon said that one-in-10 Wellington students were now applying to universities outside Britain compared with just the “occasional pupil” a few years ago.  Other independent schools have reported a similar increase in recent years.

According to the Fulbright Commission, which promotes links between US and UK universities, demand is highest for places at elite Ivy League institutions.

Applications to Pennsylvania University jumped by 50 per cent last year, while demand for Harvard was up 41 per cent and Yale reported a 23 per cent rise, the Commission said.

Dr Seldon, writing in the foreword of the book alongside Wellington’s head of sixth-form, Matt Oakman, added: “The concerns we hear from British students about poor contact time with UK lecturers and a lack of genuine engagement with them is more than media scaremongering.

“There’s a malaise in British universities, which have received too little money for far too long. Spending per head on students in American universities can be as much as twice that spent on British students.”

The new guide includes reviews of more than 65 US universities, as well as information covering the applications process, entrance exams, fees, scholarships, visas and lifestyle issues.

It says that most students in England will face annual tuition fees of £9,000 from September – on top of the cost of living.

US universities traditionally charge the equivalent of £9,800 to around £35,800 a year, it is claimed, although some provide generous scholarships and grants.

Alice Fishburn, the book’s editor, said: “The rise of tuition fees in England is slowly forcing people to look across the Atlantic. The excellent financial aid and bursary programmes in place at most American universities ensure that many British students can afford to go, regardless of their educational background or economic status.

“The recent slide of the dollar puts living expenses within reach. Most students will graduate with less debt than their British contemporaries.”



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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