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Sex-change complaint
THE daughter of a Blackpool pensioner is filing an official complaint after a sex-change carer turned up to bathe her mother at her home. 
Kathy Yates, 88 – who had specifically requested a female to assist her – was shocked when the carer turned up ‘looking like a man dressed as a woman’ and according to daughter Kathleen, felt it was undignified to be cared for by a ‘man’. 
The carer – known only as ‘Sue’ – had moved to Blackpool from Cornwall so she could start a new life following an operation to legally make her a woman. 
A spokesman for Blackpool Council said that because Sue has legally been a female for over a year, it is unlawful for her to be treated in any other way than as a female carer. 
They added: “Our responsibility is to ensure that care provided meets people’s needs. If anyone receiving care feels that the care provided is not meeting their needs in any aspect, we would encourage them to contact the care provider direct in the first instance so that the issues raised can be addressed. 
“We would always try to ensure that a person receives the full and proper care they require.” 

Homecare team makes its Mark
SWANSEA Council's homecare team has celebrated their success in recruiting more social care workers by being Frank about the challenges and rewards of working in the service. 
By teaming up with advertising agency TMP, the council increased applications for vital care worker posts with a innovative advertising campaign. 
This success and the subsequent prestigious public sector personnel managers' association award in the category best recruitment advert in social care it earned the team earlier this year was celebrated at the Dylan Thomas Centre. 
The campaign with headlines such as "Every Penny Helps", "Bob's your Uncle", "Rose Blooms" and "It's time for a Frank approach" inspired by the homecare team and created by TMP is now hailed as an example of best practice across the public sector. 
Swansea Council cabinet member for social services Wendy Fitzgerald said: "It is important that we recognise and celebrate the inspirational success of everyone involved in this campaign, in particular the homecare management team who worked tirelessly to ensure the campaign was a success.  
"As a local authority we are continuing to explore a range of measures to attract the very best people into vital social care roles." 
Swansea Council's social services department recruitment drive was sparked by a need to recruit homecare community care assistants against a background of competition from private companies and neighbouring authorities paying more for similar skills. 
Traditional advertising had failed to attract enough interest and often those expressing an interest had no real understanding of the real nature of the role. 
The council team did some investigating and identified issues such as the need to raise awareness in the community of the importance and nature of the community care assistant's role. 
They also found the lengthy application form sometimes put off candidates. 
The result was that the council drew up not only a different type of advertising campaign, but also an alternative application process. 
The council launched a six month rolling campaign using striking headlines that had a familiar personalised feel with adverts in local press, on radio, posters and bus panels backed up with an open day. 

More support ahead for vulnerable at home
ELDERLY and vulnerable people who suffer from a fall or deteriorating health will soon be able to receive more support at home thanks to a new project for south Wiltshire. 
Salisbury District Council, Salisbury Foundation Hospital, Wiltshire County Council and the South Wiltshire Primary Care Trust have joined forces to run the new telecare' scheme. 
A grant of £123,000 from Wiltshire County Council will fund assistive technology equipment at home to enable falls' victims and other patients to be discharged earlier from hospital and ensure they are safe and secure in their own home. 
Patients referred on to the scheme will also be signed up to Salisbury District Council's CareConnect service which means urgent help is on hand at the press of a button 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
The grant has also funded the appointment of telecare support officer, Olivia Harris who will identify the services and support the patient needs. 
She said: "On average, 127 patients in south Wiltshire are being discharged from hospital and medical supervision after having a fall. Of these, 11 per cent can expect to be re-admitted to hospital within 28 days. That would see nine patients a week at risk of returning to hospital and it is these people we are aiming to assist by helping them not to go back to hospital. 
"This scheme provides people with a range of technology and aids that can help prevent further falls. It also enables patients to be discharged from hospital earlier." 
Patients will enter the service either as a result of being discharged from hospital, or having an incident at home that involved calling the out of hours service. 
Referrals will be made directly by CareConnect by a health or social care professional. 
The Telecare scheme can also offer the patient: joint assessment for a 12 week programme; care and support; a CareConnect lifeline and fall detector and other sensors; emergency response to alarm calls; help with medicine; comfort calling to provide reassurance and a key safe to allow agencies emergency access their property. 
It can also refer patients for a disabled facility grant, improvements to make their home more energy efficient, identify health and safety issues (for example a poorly laid carpet), Age Concern handy van service to undertake odd jobs; and involvement in community based activities. 

Care leader backs call for funding
A REGIONAL care leader has backed a major call for millions of pounds to be ring-fenced to help vulnerable people. 
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire), is supporting a call for 0.5 per cent of the NHS’s future budget to be earmarked for care. 
That call has come from the Local Government Association which says that figure – some £500m – would help some of the country’s most vulnerable people. 
Mike said: “This is something that I, and the ICG, have been arguing for for some time. 
“The Government is able to ring-fence pockets of spending on other parts of the NHS and other sectors too – why won’t it do that for care?” 
Through its Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government is set to announce how much local authorities will be able to spend on care in the coming three years. 
And the LGA is warning that if local authorities do not, as feared, get any scope to increase spending on care over the next three years, then people relying on that care are bound to suffer. 
Charity Help the Aged has also backed the call for funding to be increased, warning that the situation is reaching crisis point. It says demand for care is growing as people live longer, but local authorities’ ability to fund it is not keeping up. 
Mr Padgham added: “These are major, influential bodies warning that something needs to be done to end the struggle for funding for care. 
“If local authorities come out of the next Comprehensive Spending Review with stand-still budgets then there is no doubt that the amount of care they are able to provide will at best stand still and at worst fall. What needs to happen is for that amount of care to grow in line with growing demand from older people but that won’t happen unless the funding issue is tackled and we begin see a fair price for care.” 
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