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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The UK Care Industry splitting into public and private

Most care in the UK is provided by private companies or not-for-profits. This applies to both domiciliary (care at home) and residential care.

Most of the funding for care comes from the state and is administered via local authorities.

Theoretically, older people should have a lot of say about where their care spend is spent but in practice they do what the local authority tells them.

Even before the economic mess, local authorities were doing their damnedest to reduce the amount of money they spent on care. This resulted in the amount spent per person being cut. The recession has accelerated this trend.

The reason I am telling you this is that state funded care is evolving into a first rate disaster.

Yesterday the Equality and Human Rights Commission said that elderly people who receive care at home are having their basic human rights “overlooked” by being neglected, left alone for long periods and not given adequate help to eat and drink.

We are talking about the UK – not some failed state.

The knee jerk reaction is to blame the big bad private companies that deliver this care. OK, some of them poorly run but the reason older people are being neglected is that the carers are supposed to rush around like demented flies trying to get to too many people in too short a time. Add to that the fact that these people are paid minimum wage and hence will not be seeing this job as a long term career gives you some idea why things are as bad as they are.

The reason I am relating this is that as more horro stories appear, and there will be a lot more, the more likely that older people and their kids will pay themselves and get the service they require.

The delivery of care in the UK is dividing into a very basic level that will be provided by the state (absolute miniumum) and decent levels of care that comes at a price. Both types of service can be profitable for the supplier but only if they are honest about what they are providing.

At the moment it is a bit like saying that a child can go to Eton or the local comprehensive and they will get the same education. That is plaining daft. The same applies to care. Dick Stroud

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