Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Nationalise Southern Cross?

"We cannot just sit back and allow frail, vulnerable people to suffer, we want to see the Government taking emergency action to safeguard these residents who are all at risk - even if that means taking over the assets of these homes and running them as a going concern".  This statement is by Judy Downey, chair of the Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA)  on the BBC website here.

This is in the wake of today's 3000 job losses of staff employed by care home provider Southern Cross and the continued threat to its 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents.

The care of the old and the infirm in our society should not be motivated by profit. British people (obviously not this current Tory led government) fully accepts this principle when it comes to the NHS but most don't "get it" with regard to other forms of caring for the elderly, the sick, the infirm and the disabled.

We forget or ignore that private sector companies only owe a duty of care to their shareholders. This duty is to maximise returns for them. So on the one hand, if you allow a massive social care organisation to be run by hedge funds and speculators ( or spivs and gamblers according to St Vince) then it is in the nature of the beast, that these companies will go bust from time to time. Regardless of the stress and trauma suffered by residents and staff from the threats of evictions and redundancy.  

Still, the government probably thinks that if Blue Cross folds due to financial mismanagement then there are still plenty of other privately run for profit schemes that residents can move into (e.g. see picture caption of home above NOT run by Southern Cross).
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