Care, columnists and calumny

Posted on May 23rd, by geoff in CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

I take a certain wry satisfaction from seeing things appear in the national media which we humble sector specialists have been reporting on for ever such a long time.

Last week, for example, on the Guardian’s website, Bob Hudson decided it was time to tell the world that social care is underfunded. He reminisced about “a public sector golden age” in the 1970s and then bemoaned the subsequent shift to private provision.

He doesn’t say anything about what the care was like in that “golden age”, nor does he explain that Government, at all levels, took the decision to farm-out social care provision to the private sector, seeing it as a cheaper option.

For-profit and not-for-profit providers accepted the challenge and for the past 30-odd years have, by and large, provided ever better care in an ever more hostile regulatory environment and financial climate.

Mr Hudson says “we need to question large private chains founded on risky financial models having any place in the realm of personal care and support where the free market cannot profitably supply the services” again neglecting to explain that private sector involvement was at the express invitation of we, the people, through government.

“Why aren’t we talking more about this?” he asks. Well, one reason is that the national media seems reluctant to give us the full picture on social care, and another is that things will have to get a lot worse before enough people add their voices to make the question loud enough to be heard. And that might be some time coming, because the private care sector has proven itself, (viz. Southern Cross) quite capable of self-rescue from the brink of catastrophe. Pity the same cannot be said of steel makers and car manufacturers.

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One response to “Care, columnists and calumny”

  1. John Burton says:

    As one who worked in local authority residential care in the 60s, 70s and 80s, I saw what the “public sector golden age” was like: good in principle but poor in practice. And I saw possibly the biggest privatisation ever, stimulated by central government and enthusiastically adopted by almost every local authority of every political persuasion.
    Neither local authorities nor private companies, nor even most of the not-for-profit providers ever understood the essence of good care – caring relationships in a largely autonomous community.
    It is the dominant demands of outside organisations (including of course CQC and the local authorities themselves) that inflate the costs of care and undermine the growth of residential homes as communities. In addition, companies that are looking for a fat profit for their executives and shareholders treat social care like any other business be it steel or BHS.

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