Friday, June 10, 2011

Excellent OECD report about the Care Industry

The civil servants who advise the UK Government about all things ‘old’ would do well to look at the work done by the OECD to study the issues of long-term care and what to do about it. Rather than producing documents that are primary about showing that “something is being done” the OECD has got to grips with a hugely difficult problem.

The results of this work is a complex 330 page document. Even the summary and conclusions is long.

I think the document deserves a wide audience so I have produced a short paper (3 pages) containing what I thought were the highlights. This is a very subjective judgment so if you are interested in the care industry I suggest you download the document and make your own decision.

What screams out of the OECD analysis, other than the enormous financial and infrastructure issues, is the demand for staff that the care industry generates. This is going to be made worse as fewer people care for their older relatives.

There is going to be a fortune to be made for organisations that have products and services that can squeeze genuine productivity improvements out of care staff. Right now little attention is being paid to this issue. Also, very little attention (in the UK) is being paid to getting more staff into the care industry.

I am sure that out of the million young Brits who are not in work or education there must be some with enough brain cells to work in the care industry. I fear what will happen – already is happening – is that overseas workers will take the majority of the jobs.

You then have to ask yourself the question that if old Brits are being cared for in the very expensive UK by overseas workers why don’t they move to a low cost country and get even better care. You have heard of Health Tourism – the next stage is Care Tourism.


I have stopped commenting about the disintegration of Southern Cross and its implications. I have also stopped talking about the utterly useless way in which the care industry is regulated/inspected. Unfortunately, the press commentary has degenerated into political position-taking and buck-passing with everybody offering their simplistic solutions. Out of this mess should come a lot of new business opportunities. I doubt if they will come from within the care industry. Dick Stroud

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