Being Home and Inspiration From Away


This week the team I work with were involved in the publication of of a new report looking at the preparedness of Scotland’s housing to deal with the increasing numbers of people living with dementia. Called “Being Home: An overview of the current housing situation for people affected by dementia in Scotland” it Is the first report of its type done in the UK that I am aware of. Very timely to as the UK begins to examine the emerging crisis it faces with regard to social housing in the wake of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower Block in London.
To download the report go to this link.

I also attended a public lecture this week which looked at comparing work done on likelihood of dying within a year after hospital admission in Scotland with work done in both Denmark and New Zealand. Sounds depressing I know but it gives you wonderful insight into just how frail our hospital population truly is.

What was really good about this wasn’t just the insight about international frailty it was finding about about the work of Merryn Gott and her team in NZ. Very inspiring, so I am going to suggest taking a look at her research team’s Blog which you can find at put the link here.

Updated Guidance on Assisted-suicide and “The Hospital”

Following on from last weeks post about the possibility of another assisted suicide court case in England the RCN recently published revised guidance on the need for compassion when dealing with such requests. The guidance explains the law on assisted suicide and looks at the alterations to organisations and support that have occurred since the Liverpool Care Pathway was discredited. You can find it at Updated guidance on Assisted Suicide

This week also saw the release of a  six-part BBC documentary series called the Hospital which looks at six weeks during 2016 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. Billed as the story of the NHS in unprecedented times episode one was shown on Wednesday 11th. of January and is now available to watch on the iPlayer. The BBC page for the whole series is at THE HOSPITAL where there is also the opportunity to take part in an interactive quiz provided by the Open University. Episode 2 is due to be screened on BB2 on Wednesday night.

Welcome, 2017!


It’s only the first week and already we have had two stories in the news in the UK that have huge implications for care of older people. In England, a terminally ill man called Noel Conway, has begun a legal fight for the right to die. This is not the first time that this has happened this though is the first case since campaigners lost their appeal at the Supreme Court in 2014. The Supreme Court made it clear at that time that it was up to Parliament to deal with any decision on amending the law. So in September 2015, MPs rejected plans for a right to die in England and Wales, in their first vote on the issue in almost 20 years.

It’s worth noting that Canada, California and Colorado all introduced assisted dying in 2016 and later this year the State government in Victoria, Australia, plans to introduce legislation to allow doctors to help the terminally ill to die. Whatever your thoughts on this topic, this case will raise the issue once again, one hotly debated already in Scotland by in response to the late MP Margo Macdonald’s Assisted Suicide Bill. This was rejected almost overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament  82 votes to 36 following a debate at Holyrood. You can read more about Noel Conway’s case at Shropshire News

The second story involves delayed discharges in Scotland. Following a Freedom of Information request it has been revealed that nearly 700 NHS patients ‘died while waiting to be discharged’ over a 19-month period. These patients had all previously been declared as medically fit to leave hospital. The challenge that this is causing Scotland’s NHS is outlined well in the following article taken from the Herald. See Herald Opinion on Delayed Discharge.

Scotland’s NHS delayed discharge figures are not a secret. They are published regularly by ISD Scotland see

Two stories that I have no doubt that will be re-visited as 2017 proceeds.