Social care market regulation – is it even on the agenda?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
A few months’ ago HC-One’s Dr Chai Patel said he supported the idea of state control of the prices care providers charge for their services. The corollary (or proviso) to this is, of course that public commissioners and purchasers of care would be required to pay the prices set by the state. That’s why it hasn’t happened and why it is unlikely to happen.
“He who governs best, governs least” is the Libertarian catch-cry but, without question, there are some aspects of economic activity which must be governed – most would agree that energy supply, public transport and education, if not publicly owned, should at least be subject to governance.
In recent decades, UK governments have not been coy about regulating (some would say interfering with) many economic markets such as telecommunications, property and agricultural commodities. Yet successive governments, mindful perhaps of the growing burden of the NHS, have maintained a laissez-faire attitude to the social care market.
To my mind this is a dereliction of governmental duty: of all the market sectors, social care is the one where those who are least able to exert consumer clout, the “powerless poor”, would benefit most from rational government intervention
If there is to be yet another independent commission, it will be interesting to see if some form of market regulation features among its recommendations, and equally interesting to see what ploys the Government adopts to wriggle out of its responsibilities yet again.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.