Archive for October, 2014

Why we’re thrilled our campaign to end ‘flying visits’ has succeeded

Thursday’s publication of the Care Act guidance was a huge victory in our year-long campaign to end the scandal of 15-minute care visits. We were delighted to see the government make it clear that these “flying visits” are completely unacceptable for personal care.

We launched our campaign to end 15-minute care in summer 2013, after having heard repeatedly from our staff and disabled people about the unacceptable choices people receiving care were being forced to make – often between having a drink and going to the loo. Something had to be done.

Without a clear picture of how often these inadequate visits were happening, and where, we knew it would be difficult to convince the right people that they needed to stop.

To find out what the scale of the problem was, we sent freedom of information requests to every council in England – and were shocked by the response.

The proportion of 15-minute care visits was far too high, at one in nine. These visits were also too widespread, with 60% of local authorities using them. And they were happening more and more frequently; the proportion of flying visits had increased by 15% over the previous five years.

We also heard from many people who receive these flying visits, like Mrs Taylor*:

“What can you do in 15 minutes? By the time they’ve helped me to the commode and helped me to change the time’s up. I end up choosing – have I got time to check if they can fill the hot water bottle? Do I get a drink or do I go to the toilet? If I ask them to boil the hot water and fill my flask for tea they might not have time to do the rest.”

With the scale of the problem clearly so large – and with tens of thousands of disabled and older people being stripped of their dignity by these visits every year – we knew we had to act.

Our year-long campaign saw our report into the scale of 15-minute visits make national news. We visited 10 Downing Street to hand in postcards from thousands of campaign supporters. We also took a giant mug and toilet to Westminster to send a clear message that no one should have to choose between going to the loo and having a cup of tea, and made a film with Esther Rantzen about the issue.

To their credit, politicians from all parties heard our call for action and responded. The government introduced an amendment to the care bill to put wellbeing at the heart of care commissioning, health secretary Jeremy Hunt described 15-minute care as “completely unacceptable” in parliament, and Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to call time on “clock-watch care”.

And now the government’s guidance has made it crystal clear that councils should not be buying these flying visits for personal care. We know that since our campaign began some authorities, like Calderdale, Islington and Essex, have already taken action to end 15-minute visits in their area.

Now is the time for other local authorities to follow their lead. We’ll be watching closely to make sure they do.



Read Full Post »

Getting published

Want to know how to get published? Come along and ask the #authors! www.justwriteitworkshops.com

Flyer for Nov workshop~FINAL

Read Full Post »


Author Glynis Smy, shortlisted for The Festival of Romance New Talent Award 2014, will be talking about planning and researching at our writing workshops this November in Lowestoft.

These workshops run from Friday 21st November to Monday 24th November.  It’s possible to book a single day, or sign up for all four.  Prices start from as little as £12 for a day, and there’s a discount for anyone signing up for the whole course.

The whole writing journey from idea to printed page is covered, and will include getting started, planning, researching, persevering, editing, finishing, publishing and marketing.

Please see website for further details. http://www.justwriteitworkshops.com/

Read Full Post »

Interesting #writing workshops coming up this Nov. For anyone looking for tips on #Planning  #Researching #Editing  #Publishing #Marketing. With 6 published and successful authors http://www.justwriteitworkshops.com

Read Full Post »

‘We still use mint to combat nausea and to settle the stomach, and research has proved that the herb stimulates alertness. In one NASA-funded study, scientists from Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit University found that the smell of peppermint lowered fatigue by 15 percent, increased alertness by 30 percent and decreased frustration by 25 percent.’


For details of our writing workshops with published authors #Glynis Smy #Ann Bowyer #Jayne-Marie Barker #Yvonne Newbold #Rosy Thornton #Suzan Collins please see our website for further details. http://www.justwriteitworkshops.com/

Read Full Post »

GREAT NEWS! My book, ‘Beyond My Control: Why the Health & Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother’ is shortlisted for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK prize.

If you think my book is a worthy winner please vote before November at http://www.peoplesbookprize.com/section.php?id=2 Thank you.

BMC jpeg

Read Full Post »


‘UK’s dementia care betrayal: Nine in ten care homes and hospitals fail patients, says damning report

  • CQC review finds widespread neglect, lack of care and poor training
  • They found that 90% had some aspect of poor or inconsistent care.’                                                                                                                                    Daily Mail 13th Oct 2014

Reading this is worrying but not a surprise. We’re hearing more now about poor care. It can be very stressful if you need to find a care/nursing home for your loved one with dementia, a care/nursing home that provides care and support with a dedicated staff team.

But as we read above, there is ‘a staggering 90 per cent of the care homes and hospitals inspected found to have aspects of variable or poor care’. So where does this leave us for who are trying to find a good care home for our loved one. And why is this happening?

I have seen great staff across the country who genuinely care for those they support. They are dedicated and provide person centred support, and many a time work long hours due to staff shortages/sickness. I have also seen staff that have delivered poor care. Sometimes, it’s not their fault. The staff/client ratios in these large homes are minimal and it would be helpful for the Care Quality Commission to bring in a minimum number of clients to staff ratio. The former Commission of Social Care Inspection [CSCI] had this.

Dementia is a specilised area and need staff who are trained to support people with dementia. It is not good enough to receive training on how to support older people, training is needed on how to support individuals with dementia. People can live well with dementia, but only if staff have the knowledge on how to support the individual to do this.

Is a care/nursing home needed for the individual with dementia or can they be supported at home, with a Personal Budget? [Personal budgets give you flexibility in how your care needs are met.]

What is needed in a care/nursing home to enable a person with dementia to be cared for, and be safe? As a minimum this is needed:

The care assessment completed prior to going into the care/nursing home needs to give an accurate full description of the individual’s needs.

We need to get the right quality of care. Staff to be recruited who genuinely want to care and support others [not those who see it as ‘just a job’].

High turnover rates lead to lack of continuity. Do the managers carry out an Exit Interview with staff to see why they’re leaving? If they did, this may help them see the reasons and if the reasons are to do with the Home then the manager can look to rectify this.

Money available to train staff in this specialised area and this money to be used for training and nothing else.

Time for staff to complete training.

Staff to discuss with their supervisor/manager afterwards to see if the training met their need.

Good client staff ratio on shifts.

Time for staff to carry out best practice [and not cut corners due to short staffing].

Senior on shift to lead the shift, monitor, observe and discuss poor practice if apparent.

Staff to receive regular 1-1 confidential supervision sessions where training needs are identified, performance discussed, feedback given and concerns shared.

Staff to be able to express their concerns without fear of reprisal or losing their job.

What makes a good care/nursing home?

Many care/nursing homes can look grand from the outside, and sometimes on the inside too. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they pay the same amount of time cleaning the place to supporting the people who live there.

Some of the things I feel should be in place:

Care/support plans are individual to the person [and not the same as everyone elses]. The plans should take in the uniqueness of the individual, their interests, abilities, needs and preferences.

Staff must treat individuals with dignity and respect.

Systems should be in place to help the individual with choices. This can be objects to refer to or pictures/photographs.

Dedicated and trained staff team.

Keyworker system in place.

Good leadership and support for staff.

Clients and family are listened to.

House meetings where the people living there are able to express opinions and make suggestions for their home.

Happy, relaxed atmosphere.

Activities for the individual to choose if s/he wishes to participate.

Useful websites:

Alzheimer’s Society http://alzheimers.org.uk/

Age UK http://www.ageuk.org.uk/

Health Watch http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/

The Silver Line http://www.thesilverline.org.uk/

Read Full Post »

Welcome, Rosemary Smith… Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Rosemary A Smith

I’m 68 years old, live in Devon, and didn’t start writing until I was 57 after having a brain tumour removed. My neurosurgeon advised me to keep my brain active, but don’t think it was quite what he had in mind! I was born in London, and my stepfather moved us to Devon in 1959. It is home to me. I’ve written 7 romantic suspense novellas. First for DC Thomson, and then they went into large print with Ulverscroft. And so far 4 are on kindle with Endeavour Press. I’m an incurable romantic, and have a lively imagination. I wrote under the name Rosemary A Smith, but the kindle books are under just Rosemary Smith. I am a member of the romantic Novelists Association, and have a lot to do with fundraising for our Chapel which was built in 1719. We have 3 daughters, one sadly deceased. 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandsons. And a dog called Alfie.

What was the first story you wrote?

The first story I wrote was ‘The Amethyst Brooch’. It took me 2 years to write by hand. A friend typed it up, and said I should send it somewhere. The story was set in Cornwall in the late 19th Century. And I was lucky enough to have it accepted by DC Thomson.

Were you inspired by someone or something?

I was inspired by the rugged beauty of Cornwall. My love of old houses. My love of romance, and of mystery, and of beautiful dresses. Also the sea, which is one of my favourite things.

What do you like about writing a story?

The thing I love about writing my stories, is escaping into another world in the past. And I really enjoy the research. Sometimes I can spend a few hours reading up on Victorian Society, clothes etc. I also like to think that people are going to enjoy what I’ve written. I love writing.

Can you tell us about your newest book?

My newest book is a time slip story. Set between the 19th century in Scotland, and the 18th Century in Devon and Ireland. I’ve not tried a time slip before. It’s about a young woman who wakes up in a castle in the Highlands of Scotland, not knowing who she is, or why she is there. Also about a young woman banished to a Convent in Ireland for falling in love. I’ve really enjoyed writing this story, but have yet to send it to a publisher. I’m still deliberating where to send it!

How did you come up with the story?

The story just popped into my mind, as stories always do. I started in Ireland, then added the Scotland aspect of the story. The title usually comes to me first, and I work the story around it. Names are always important, and I get to know my characters quite well. Hate leaving them when the work is complete!

What genre best fits for the book?

Victorian Romantic suspense. Romance, mystery, history in a beautiful setting.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

I’m not working on anything new at present, although I have bursts of inspiration. Life has been quite hectic lately. But I will get back to it.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

The only thing I would say to aspiring writers is, get it on paper. I was lucky, they can be too. And don’t give up.

What is your writing routine?

I write better in the evening, or early hours. Not necessarily every day. I get spurts of writing for days. I don’t have a routine.

Do you have an editing process?

I usually go back over chapters at regular intervals, and edit quite often. It is when I read things back that I see mistakes, and the potential for additional sentences and paragraphs. I never leave it until the end, I edit regularly.

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

The thing I most like about writing is making up a story which hopefully people will enjoy. I always have the reader in my mind when writing.

Where can people go to read your work?

Four titles are available on Amazon on kindle under the name Rosemary Smith. The latest title on kindle is ‘A Strange Affair’. I can be found on Amazon Authors section under the name Rosemary A Smith. I don’t have a website.

Where can people find you on the internet?

Libraries: People can find my seven novellas in the large print section of libraries all across the UK, and I know they are in Australia and New Zealand too.

Amazon: Four titles are available on Amazon on kindle under the name Rosemary Smith. The latest title on kindle is ‘A Strange Affair’. I can be found on Amazon Authors section under the name Rosemary A Smith. I don’t have a website. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosemary-A.-Smith/e/B0034P3R1M/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1413624871&sr=1-2-ent

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

I would just like to say to my readers, that I write in the Victorian Era because I feel I’ve lived there, and have no trouble imagining the clothes and old houses I write about.

Thank you Suzan for inviting me over. Rosemary. You’re welcome, Rosemary, I have enjoyed it. Suzan

Read Full Post »

Welcome, Glynis Smy…


Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I live in the coastal town of Dovercourt, Essex, with my husband and mother. We have three adult children, one in Canada, and two in Essex. Our adorable granddaughter keeps us on our toes, and look forward to another arriving in February 2015. I enjoy card making for charity, fishing, cross stitch, and of course, writing.

What was the first story you wrote?

It was Ripper, My Love, a romance suspense in the Victorian era.

Ripper my love~Glynis

Were you inspired by someone or something?

I would like to say Jack the Ripper, but it was more of a statement made than the person. Someone said what an evil person he/she had been. I replied that somebody loved them once, and that was it, the idea kicked in for a short story but a novel developed.

Why do you write?

Why? Because I love it, and there are characters in my head I cannot shut up at night. They force me to scribble down words at a frantic pace!

Can you tell us about your newest book?

The Penny Portrait is due for release December 2014. It is based in my hometown, although I started writing it in Cyprus (where I lived for eight years until 2013). My favourite place to walk is along the rough coastal paths of the beach, and it holds fond memories of my father who passed two years ago.

                                         Harwich 1865

When Elle Buchanan is abandoned by her parents in her sixteenth year, she has no choice but to run from the leering eyes of their landlord. Earlham’s beach in the town of Dovercourt, holds memories of her childhood and becomes her home. Hiding out in a rundown shepherd shack she takes stock of her life, and finds friendship in the form of a crippled male, Stanley.

Through various friendships she is able to follow her love of art and earn from her skill. Under the guidance of Angus Argyle, a local art tutor, she thrives. His sharp eye spots a charcoal drawing in her portfolio, and knows the naked man Elle etched. She tells of how they met, and Angus sells the drawing on to its model with the promise that they would say nothing.

Elle struggles with the loss of friends, friendship, and love. Growing up alone she is naïve, and her innocence loses her a love she so desperately seeks.

Will Elle have to give up her dream for love, or will love find a way into her life?

How did you come up with the story?

Dad had Alzheimer’s and I sat reminiscing about my childhood walks with him, and I wanted to capture the feeling of abandonment that the disease gave me when it took him from me. He saved me from the tidal dikes one day, and became my hero as he carried me on his back across the rushing waters.

I met my husband in the same town, and we walked there as young lovers, I wanted to capture the romance, angst, and emotional patterns of young love.

I played there with my best friend who died twenty years ago, and during the reflective moments, that was the place my mind took me, so I tried to capture friendship and loss.

I really cannot think why I chose art as my character’s pathway in life, I cannot paint to save my life!

So all in all the story is a plot of emotions based upon my inner-self, about a place that some see as desolate but I see it as a giver of life.

What genre best fits for the book?

Historical Romance – Victorian

What are some of the benefits and challenges to writing?

Benefits are of achieving a dream. Pocket money if you sell enough for profit, and the sense of satisfaction a reader has enjoyed your work. Challenges? Editing, marketing – the other side of writing.

Do you attend a writing group?

No, I am not a group person. I attended one once but felt so inadequate I couldn’t return.

Do you have someone to critique your work?

Yes, I have a couple of fab beta readers.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

My novel Maggie’s Child, has captured the imagination of a few readers and I received emails and messages wondering if there would be more about Maggie’s life. So, I am in the process of attempting a family saga. A BIG challenge!

Maggies child~Glynis


Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Go for it, grab that pen and follow your dream. Build a presence on the Internet, learn from others, and do not be put off by those who have received rejections from publishers and agents. Self-publish, and carry on enjoying the dream!

What is your writing routine?

Grab time when I can. I no longer have the luxury of all day to myself, I literally have to grab moments, so there is no longer a routine.

Do you have an editing process?

  1. I read on computer – edit x3.
  2. I print off read through & edit x1
  3. I download to Kindle and read as a book (amazing how many glaring errors are found this way).
  4. I then hand over to beta readers

What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?

There is nothing I dislike, I enjoy the whole process – except marketing but that isn’t writing to me.

How important is it for you to share your writing?

At first it wasn’t something I focused upon, I just enjoyed my books for my own personal satisfaction. Slowly readers began to want more from me, and it became a need to share situation. My ego now loves sharing!

You were shortlisted for an award recently. Can you tell us all about it and how you felt etc?

When my book Maggie’s Child, reached the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, I thought Christmas had arrived early. It was a true ego boost. I found courage to submit the book to the Festival of Romance New Talent scheme, and to my surprise and joy I found my name on the shortlist! This has instilled new courage and inspired me to keep writing. To know I now have ‘street cred’ within the writing community is thrilling.

Where can people go to read your work?

Amazon stores online are where my books are based at the moment. Although I do have plans to have paperbacks in independent bookstores in the future. I would also love them to be in libraries in the UK.

Maggie’s Child

Ripper, My Love

Ripped Genes


Purchase at Amazon

Where can people find you on the internet?


Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/glynissmyauthor

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

If folk are interested they can sign up for my newsletter. It is sent out four times a year unless I have extra news to share.

Sign up for My Newsletter

I support other authors and showcase books here:

The Virtual Bookcase

Maggies child~Glynis

  Ripper my love~Glynis   ripped-genes-createspace~Glynis

Thank you, Glynis, it’s been lovely meeting you again, and good luck with your next book, The Penny Portrait, which is due for release December 2014.

Read Full Post »

Yvonne Newbold 

I am delighted that Yvonne Newbold, author of “The Special Parent’s Handbook”, will be  talking about publishing at the Just Write It! Workshops in Lowestoft this November.

These workshops run from Friday 21st November to Monday 24th November.  It’s possible to book a single day, or sign up for all four.  Prices start from as little as £12 for a day, and there’s a discount for anyone signing up for the whole course.

The whole writing journey from idea to printed page is covered, and will include getting started, planning, researching, persevering, editing, finishing, publishing and marketing.

Please see website for further details. http://www.justwriteitworkshops.com/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »