Time for a parting of the ways?
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
Over the weekend just gone, at a social occasion unconnected with social care, I overheard the following scrap of conversation:
“Of course, when it comes to care homes, when they’re in the private sector and driven by profit, they cut corners and people don’t get the care they need …’
Depressing isn’t it? To my knowledge, the person who made this comment had nothing to do with social care and had no qualified experience of social care, but the sentiment he expressed has become a truth almost universally acknowledged.
In this person’s simplistic view, local authorities have no role. The fact that social care was farmed out to the private sector, and that public bodies then abused their role as purchaser by screwing-down prices never gets a mention. If asked what they think a fair price for care might be, these people have no idea.
They are similarly unaware, or choose to ignore, that public bodies spend, on average, 25% of their social care budgets on administration to pay the hefty salaries of ‘directors of personalisation’ and ‘strategic planning officers’ (nice work if you can get it). A certain parallel with the profit motive here, don’t you think?
I didn’t buy into the discussion on this occasion – I was on a music camp and was there to make music, not to get embroiled in a debate about care home funding– but on later reflection, I saw that private providers have been saddled with this reputation, sometimes with justice but more often than not quite unfairly, and they are not going to get rid of it for as long as they continue to deal with local authorities and other custodians of the public purse.
Perhaps it’s time for public bodies to once again provide the care they fund and for private providers to do what they do best; that is, provide excellent care at a fair, competitive price to the private pay market. Then we might see some real action on the insurance front and care providers might rid themselves of the undeserved reputation of being money-grubbing profiteers.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.