Category Archives: News


Carers Should be Screened for Depression say Doctors

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) estimates that as much as one in every twenty patients with a GP practice is providing unpaid care and it is thought that about 40% of carers are thought to be at risk of depression or stress because of their caring role.

The Carer’s Trust defines a carer as someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

It is estimated that about seven million people in the UK currently provide unpaid care to a sick or disabled child or adult saving the tax payer in the region of £119 billion annually. However according to the RCGP many of these people are not properly supported in this vital role.

The RCGP have drawn up a list of clinical commissioning groups – these are small groups of GPs that are involved in planning care at a local level – to put into place measures to ensure that carer’s mental health needs are taken into account. The have advised that a screening process for depression should involve “a small number of general, non-invasive questions about overall mood and mental well-being.”

Alice takes care of her husband Frank in their home in Liverpool. Frank has mild dementia and long term chest problems “Sometimes I feel so isolated and down, I do not get many visitors and nobody rings so I can spend all day talking to nobody apart from Frank. Conversations with Frank are often difficult as he does not always remember what we are talking about. My sister tells me to go and see my GP and get some help – she may well be right.”

Dr Clare Gerada, chairperson of the RCGPs says ‘Carers often neglect their own healthcare needs and in many cases it is only a matter of time before they themselves become ill. GPs can play a crucial role in identifying potential problems in the early stages and screening for depression is something that many GPS are already doing. Commissioners need to invest in supporting carers as a critical asset. They already save the public purse £119bn a year and this initiative could save even more by ensuring that carers stay well enough to keep on caring.”


Advice News

Changes to the Disclosure and Barring Service

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 merged the functions of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) into one body: the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS covers England and Wales with Disclosure Scotland and Access Northern Ireland fulfilling the same role elsewhere in the UK. The role of the DBS is to enable organisations from public, private and voluntary sectors to identify potential employees who may not be appropriate to work in certain roles with particular emphasis on those working with children or vulnerable adults. The new body became effective on the 1st December 2012.

Around a quarter of the working population of the United Kingdom work in circumstances that fall within the DRB’s remit.

Previously the DBS produced certificates listing an individual’s entire history of convictions regardless of when they occurred or the significance of the crime or misdemeanour. The recent upholding by the Court of Appeal of a complaint that such a blanket approach risked breaching peoples’ right to privacy has required a change in policy and, since the end of May 2013, some convictions will be filtered.

Convictions can now be excised from the record if they meet the following three criteria: firstly, that at least eleven years have elapsed since the date of the conviction; secondly, that it is the individual’s only conviction and thirdly, that said conviction was not punished with a custodial sentence.


Furthermore, candidates are not obliged to inform potential employers of convictions which would not be appear on a DBS certificate. An employer taking such a conviction into account would risk prosecution uner the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, 1974.

Advice Moving and Handling News

Breakthrough for Sufferers of Chronic Back Pain

€lterer Mann hat Probleme mit seinen BandscheibenRecent research conducted by the University of Southern Denmark has turned much of the established thinking about chronic lower back pain on its head. Over a period of ten years the Danish team have studied tissue collected from sufferers and found that nearly half of the samples were infected, most often by Propionibacterium acnes more generally known as the cause of acne.

When a vertebral disc prolapses or ‘slips’ the body attempts to repair the damage by growing tiny blood vessels into the disc itself. Rather than helping, this actually allows the offending bacteria, which usually enters the bloodstream as a consequence of people brushing their teeth, to infiltrate the disc resulting in painful inflammation and damage.

Around £480 million is spent in the UK each year conducting surgery on the human spine, the largest part of this treatment is in tackling back pain. Prolapsed vertebral discs pressing against the spinal cord are often simply cut off to reduce or remove the pressure and, therefore, the pain. However, in light of the new research, many patients will be able to avoid surgery and simply take a 100-day course of antibiotics. The researchers found that in as many as 80% of cases where damaged vertebrae had been identified and pain suffered for a period greater than six months, it was alleviated by antibiotics.

Peter Hamlyn of University College London Hospital commented, ‘We are talking about probably half of all spinal surgery for back pain being replaced by taking antibiotics. It may be that we can save £250 million from the NHS budget by doing away with unnecessary operations. The price of the antibiotic treatment is only £114. It is spectacularly different to surgery.’

Of course, over-use of antibiotics is currently of significant concern to the health services as antibiotic-resistant bacteria present ever-greater problems and challenges to the successful treatment of infections. Further research is needed to ensure that drugs are targeted effectively, the number of patients responding grows and the duration of suffering reduced. Dr Hanne Albert, one of the researchers, pointed out that currently many patients were treated with ineffective surgery instead of the drug treatment that could effectively address their condition.


Congratulations to Barchester Healthcare

Congratulations to Barchester Healthcare – one of our longest standing clients – who were recently ranked, in a poll undertaken by The Sunday Times, as one of the UK’s best employers. Barchester provide person-centred care for in excess of 10,000 residents at over 200 UK sites. Assessed anonymously by its own staff, Barchester was rated particularly highly in terms of personal growth. Founder and Chief Executive, Mike Parsons, said: ‘Barchester is a company that puts heart and hospitality into its care homes. This can be done only by employing and developing dedicated staff that in turn create great care environments to live and work in. Our ethos at Barchester is ‘Celebrating Life’ and it’s clear that our employees bring this to life every day and enjoy working here.’