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Have health services in the Netherlands pulled off the trick of managing to cut costs, but maintain quality?
Set up six years ago, Buurtzorg now employs over 7,000 frontline staff, representing 60% of Dutch community nurses – with just 30 managers on its books. Staff costs per hour are higher but patients need 30% to 40% less contact time every month, the company claims, because care is directly responsive, changing on a day-to-day basis depending on what the patient needs.
Nurses work in teams of ten, each serving a particular community and working closely with local GPs and services. They see themselves as having a key social function of identifying and building relationships within the community. Buurtzorg says that not only are patients happier but so are staff – it has 60% lower staff absenteeism and 33% lower turnover than the sector average.
Buurtzorg’s Dutch model of care is in stark contrast to the UK where 160,000 social carers earn less than the minimum wage and social care job vacancies are higher than any other sector.
New to Society Matters today is a piece looking at how policy intersects with the lives of people sleeping rough. Are we getting it right?
More generally, rough sleepers also spoke about their experiences of being homeless. Sleeping rough often required management of unusual or new situations, such as deciding where to stay and whether to engage with homelessness services. David spoke about sleeping rough in an area he knew well, and the ways in which that allowed him to deal with the risk to his safety, but also put him at risk of being seen by people he knew, saying:
“I didn't want to leave the area 'cause I knew it so well. But I didn't want to be seen, I was embarrassed and ashamed. I didn't want to be seen by anyone I knew, to see me in that situation, sleeping rough. Why, I don't know, some part of my dignity hadn't quite died.”
It's that time of the year when arts commissioners and panel game team members vanish from England, as they head north to be part of the largest arts festivals in the world. So much talent in one place, and The One Show too.
We've gathered together a collection of arts-related OpenLearn content for you to experience some of the buzz of the festival in your own space (consider this the equivalent of having a flier shoved in your face, to heighten that sense): Try our festival fever
And, in a listen over lunch selection, might we recommend the following to listen to. Over lunch, or whenever:
Edinburgh's Student radio station Fresh Air is live across the festival, with a special collection of programmes from around the festivals. Listen to Fresh Fringe
Front Row, BBC Radio 4's evening arts show, did a special live morning edition from Edinburgh this morning: Listen to Front Row on iPlayer
And if you're thinking you might like to be part of the performances next year, Edinburgh Fringe have produced some podcasts explaining how to get the most out of the experience:
It's a busy week for FutureLearn, with a bunch of free courses starting. Here's what's new for this week:
This week, our collection of five interesting things for our start up segment is a virtual arboretum, collecting together some notable trees. We're starting with The Royal Oak.
"I know the Royal Oak", you might be thinking; "it's the pub round the corner." And you wouldn't be totally wrong - the Royal Oak we're looking at is the source of all those pub names (the last time anyone counted, there were 434 Royal Oaks and a further five Old Royal Oaks in the UK). They commemorate the escape of the man who would become Charles II, following the Battle Of Worcester during the English Civil War.
In 1651, Charles was fighting to try and regain the throne - his father, Charles I had been executed two years before. The battle, though, was lost, and Charles had to flee Cromwell's troops. He came to Boscobel House in Bishop's Wood - rumoured to be a place of sanctuary for Roman Catholics - and, while he would spend the night in a Priest's Hole inside the building, initially he sought refuge in an oak tree in the grounds. In the morning, Charles adopted a disguise and started a journey which would take him to France and eventually back to the English throne.
The oak, of course, remained where it was. Unfortunately, it became a victim of its own fame; souvenir hunters in the 17th and 18th century all wanted a piece of the tree that saved the King and, eventually, so much had been chopped off the tree died. It does have descendents, though - the tree pictured above is a direct descendent of The Royal Oak, on the same site; others have been planted since. English Heritage, which owns the house, even sells descendent saplings in the gift shop.
The tree doesn't just live on through its descendents and pub names. The Royal Oak was adopted as name for ships by the Royal Navy, although the last ship to carry the name was lost at Scapa Flow in the Second World War.
In addition, there was briefly a constellation which carried a name celebrating the tree, Robur Carolinum. This was designed by Edmund Halley (who would go on to give his name to a comet) but never quite caught on.