How Many?…and Flowers!

As most of you who read this post are aware, the UK is facing a substantial rise in the number of people living with dementia as we head into the future. Fortunately we are a relatively rich country and we have already begun trying to address the problems that this may cause us in the future. However what about a country who have more people with living with dementia than the whole population of Scotland already and face a rise to around 36 million people living with dementia within its borders by 2050.

Welcome to China! An interesting article on the situation facing China was published in the Economist this week and it makes for frightening reading. Ticking time bomb fails to describe it…


Here is a bit of contrast. if your wife was losing her eyesight over a prolonged period what would you do to help. I doubt if this is one of the things that you would come up with but what a beautiful story…

A Positive Choice

On Wednesday the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) in Scotland published ‘A Positive Choice: everyday stories of nursing excellence in older people’s care’ – eight stories celebrating the expertise, technical knowledge and compassion of nurses and health care support workers (HCSWs) who care for our older people. 

The stories in ‘A Positive Choice’ are aimed at dispelling the myths that exist about older people’s care by showcasing the vital role that nurses and HCSWs play in caring for older people in Scotland. The dedication, knowledge and skills and enthusiasm of people working in this specialty shine through the words of the nurses and HCSWs featured. So a good news story for once and I hope you find them an interesting read. To download the booklet go to:

Bringing you write up to date, today was the day that Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) published her first Annual Report. In it she talks about about a concept that she has labelled Realistic Medicine. If you want to know more about what that means, there is a short video that accompanies report which you can find at:

You can download the full report or a summary at

UK Life Expectancy is the Highest it’s Ever Been

A good news story for once. A report published by Public Health England (PHE) has found that life expectancy at older ages in England have risen to their highest ever level. Well what does that mean:

  • men can now expect to live for a further 19 years at age 65, 12 years at 75, 6 years at 85 and 3 years at 95
  • women can expect to live for a further 21 years at age 65, 13 years at 75, 7 years at 85, and 3 years at 95

So unlike other reports this shows that the effect of increasing life expectancy continues through life. Now please note that these are English figures and in Scotland we have a tendency to not see the same benefits. I wonder how Scotland would compare?

If you want to see the full report go to

Another interesting report from this week is from the Kings Fund which reports on the British Social Attitudes Survey, focussing particularly on the public’s satisfaction with the NHS in 2015. The survey was carried out between July and October 2015 and asked a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 people about their satisfaction with the NHS overall, and of more than 1,000 people about their satisfaction with individual NHS services. If you want to know what they said go to

Amazingly people aged 75 and over have higher levels of satisfaction with the NHS than younger people. I  have to wonder why, especially when you look at stories like this one: Social care cuts ‘major cause’ of A&E problems

Maybe this helps explain it.


Malnutrition and a Health Service Ombudsman Report

Well no prizes for guessing my topic this week. Firstly I want to draw your attention to a recent BAPEN report released in November that I thought might be of interest. It seems to have been overlooked, but the report highlights the fact that almost a third of adults are malnourished on admission to hospital, as are about 35% of care home admissions. NICE have had a quality standard for nutritional support since 2012 but is that being adopted in the way that was planned? This report looks at the relationship between the two. Its quite a complex relationship but the report feedback is made very accessible as there are 3 levels, the full report, a short version and a key points and summary version. have a look and see what it says. I am sure you will find it interesting particularly if you bear in mind that many at risk older people are unaware of their risk, how it can be prevented and where to seek advice and support (Patient Association 2011).

To see the report got to and download the version you want.

They also have other resources on the topic of malnutrition on their site. The MUST tool which many of you may use to screen for malnutrition was created by BAPEN and the resources that accompany this are also available via their website.

On a totally different tack, a new report by the Health Service Ombudsman was published in December called “Breaking down the barriers: Older people and complaints about health care”.

Breaking Down.emf

The report suggests a number of recommendations to improve older people’s experience of the complaints system, with the Ombusdman’s Office requesting that all NHS providers make older people aware of how to complain, point them to the support that is available to them, and make it clear that their future care will not be compromised if they complain. They also recommend that organisations that provide care use our framework for showing what good complaint handling is. To access this report go to

It is always worth keeping an eye on the Health Service Ombudsman’s site as it is quite interesting to see what complaints get to that stage and what impact reporting has. The Scottish Ombusdman’s page is at: