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).


Robert said...

All you do with privatization is move these thugs into more secure jobs.

The problem is of course Councils do not want to run these homes or be involved with the difficulty of looking after some of the most disruptive disabled people.

The Charities/ government had hoped by giving the jobs to these firms they would some how employ people to do jobs, fully trained nurses found difficult, and of course both the council and the private firms found employing the right people at the min wage difficult, the training is wrong, if training is undertaken at all. The watch dog is toothless, these private firms had power because the council knew they had nowhere to put them.

These people who look after these disabled people need training need a professional body and they need decent wages to ensure people who come in are the right people.

These private forms came in because of care in the community, and I can remember the Stories of the care in the NHS

John's Little Sister said...

Local authorities are rapidly moving towards a position where all services will be provided by the private sector, not only care homes but all care provided to vulnerable and elderly people within the community. The principle of keeping people within their own homes for as long as possible is of course right but this is putting ennormous pressure on privately run care agencies who are (and I'm generalising here) not up to the task. Poor pay, poor or non existent training, high staff turnover is never going to result in a good service. Even the word 'services' is being removed from the vocabulary of local authorities as they rush to implement the Personalisation agenda...the privatisation of Adult Social Care is upon us and recent events within the private care sector I'm afraid are the tip of the iceburg.

Conservative led councils aren't rolling over, they are gleefully seizing an opportunity to implement changes that previously would have been deemed politically too unpopular. They aren't fighting closures they are actively pursueing them.

John Gray said...

Hi Robert

There has to be proper regulation, governance and accountability of all organisations that provide social care (often at an eye watering cost to the public).

I agree that it is absolutely vital that all staff must be adequately trained, supported and paid.


Agreed (as always)