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A night in Berlin

A strange thing happened to me at the weekend. I was in Berlin walking home with a group of friends after a lovely evening. A very drunk young man fell over as we passed by, got up and started hurling abuse at us- in pretty good English. Like the rest of the group I tried to avoid and ignore him...

Dementia and dying

Awareness weeks are like buses- you wait a while and then three come along at once! Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and this week we have Dementia Awareness Week and Dying Matters Awareness Week. All really important topics for those of us interested in adult social care and the...

Mental health awareness

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAW15). I know that some find the parade of special days, weeks and months a bit tiresome and wonder how much impact they have. I am firmly in the camp, though, that welcomes the opportunity to focus on a specific topic, raise the profile and share...

Social care vote

So after all the discussion and mayhem, we're finally here – the week of Election Day. I blogged recently about the importance of people using and working in social care services making sure they were registered to vote. What a fantastic response there was. One of the great things about social...

Inspection matters

Inspection as a way to support improvement in health and social care has been taking a bit of a battering. John Burton writing in the Guardian Social Care Network claimed “After 50 years in the sector, I know the CQC rarely improves social care.” It was also reported that the Danish government were...

Friends, humanity and co-production

Friends, humanity and co-production. My three key themes from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) spring seminar. Perhaps surprising given that the focus was on austerity and the social care response. But amongst the facts and figures of rising demand, decreasing resources...

Election time

The election campaign is well underway with only 24 days left until 7 May. As you would expect there has been a lot of discussion about the NHS. Social care has been a feature but not quite so prominently. I've heard various politicians say before that social care doesn't feature as much...

Hiking and Market Oversight

The four day weekend was a perfect opportunity for me to escape London for the Lake District. Blessed with fine weather (once the fog lifted) we took to the hills hiking up Cat Bells on Saturday and then round Buttermere and over the Haystacks on Sunday. With some lovely meals, a great performance...

Housing – it's personal

Last week I was honoured to speak at the first open meeting of the National Housing Federation's Housing and Health group. In the clamour for joint working between health and social care we often forget the vital role of housing. It's one of the reasons I prefer a focus on person-centred...

Preparing for April

I celebrated my birthday at the weekend. As The Guardian's birthday page has been telling people for a few years, there's no point pretending – so before you ask, I was 51. March is a busy month for birthdays in my family – my Mum, my aunt, me, my brother (born on my third birthday) and...

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