Some failures are inevitable

Posted on December 11th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

There’s a lot of speculation as to the near-term future of Four Seasons Health Care: as to if it will be placed in administration with some investors out of pocket and a few wiley individuals apparently trousering a surplus following financial machinations which are incomprehensible to me.

No one should be surprised by this development; government effectively washed its hands of adult social care provision and handed it over to the private sector many years ago. Multinational investors in all their guises have but one imperative – to maximise monetary return, but private enterprise and risk go hand-in-hand and some failures are inevitable.

One has the sense of the Southern Cross debacle playing out again, with national media asking largely fatuous questions about corporate accountability, presenting government as a potential ‘Mr Fixit’ rather than as agent provocateur.

But a failure of Four Seasons is likely to have more serious ramifications than that of Southern Cross. There might be a HC-One lookalike, waiting in the wings with its cards held firmly to its chest, ready to rescue the rump when the time is ripe but the economic landscape is considerably more hostile and the regulatory burden is that much heavier than it was six years’ ago.

This time, the then much talked of possibility of frail elderly residents having to move out into other, inappropriate settings may well come to pass. If this turns out to be the case, blaming the likes of Terra Firma is silly; they will do whatever government allows them to do in pursuit of profits. If blame is to be apportioned, the bulk of it must go to government and its failure to govern.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 responses to “Some failures are inevitable”

  1. Bob Ferguson says:

    It’s not just a case of “blaming the likes of Terra Firma” – incidentally, how inappropriate is that name? – after the fact. Someone should be asking, ahead of the fact, if it’s acceptable to abandon old and vulnerable people to the vagaries of the market, to the machinations of private equity funds, doing what they do, leaving local authorities – or more likely circling vultures – to pick up the pieces when the bubble inevitably bursts.

    What sort of society is it that throws its needy to the wolves? Should not these scavengers be accountable to a fit and proper person framework that takes account of the regime under which homes are funded? Yes, they must be recompensed for risk taking. But what about the risk carried by the residents; they stand to get nothing out of it but grief.

  2. John Burton says:

    It’s shameful that our wealthy country has beggars in the street, people sleeping rough, Grenfell Tower, and a broken down care system run by international plutocrats. National and local governments (of all parties) have dodged their responsibilities ever since M. Thatcher and her gang let the dogs out to rip “society” to bits and hand the bits out to the licensed rogues to sell back to us.
    And it’s shameful that the great and good of social care went along with it and were partial to a few bits themselves. Still, they can blame the hedge fund gang.
    So, now we have an inhuman and industrialised care system that is utterly uncaring, apart from those brave and decent people who through thick and thin survive – just – to go on caring as long as the regulator lets them.
    Let’s stop pretending it works. It’s the wrong model. But, like the financial crash, while there’s money to be made, they’ll carry on, until they come to the rest of us to bail them out, and in no time they’ll be minting it again.

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