Public vs private – a stone we’d rather leave unturned?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
A friend of mine is an unreconstructed socialist. Whenever we meet for dinner we end up having the old debate about public versus private. With public transport and utilities I find myself in accord with him, but then we move on to the NHS and social care, and sparks begin to fly. We always end up agreeing to disagree and move on to safer topics like the Middle East, but these debates do help me to sharpen my thinking about social care.
More importantly, it makes me realise that there are many people who think as my friend does; that all private care providers put profits before people and pay their staff peanuts in order to reap their ill-gotten gains. I suppose I must dignify this specious perspective with a brief refutation (although I could go on for pages). Briefly then; monopoly stifles change, and poor practice, malpractice and the ascendancy of ‘the system’ can quickly spread and establish itself thoughout the entire structure. Whistleblowing is made that much more difficult (where else could you find a job in social care, were there only the one provider?). That’s enough to be going on with.
My main point is that this public/private polarisation is still with us in spades (and many, like my friend, confuse ‘not-for profit’ providers with public provision). It will take a long time to heal the rift and it has tended to become (forgive me) an ‘elephant in the room’ where politicians, commissioners and yes, providers, attribute problems to anything other than this fundmental attitudinal division.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.