Privatised Elderly Care Stinks


The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on home care yesterday revealed shocking examples of how basic care for the elderly in their own homes is sometimes so bad it breaches human rights.

But the GMB condemned the report’s failure to identify that the private sector aim of making money is not compatible with delivering decent home care.

GMB National Officer Justin Bowden said: ‘GMB welcome and agree with the finding that the underlying causes of bad practises in home care are largely due to systemic problems rather than the fault of individual care workers.

‘GMB agree that much of commissioning focuses on price and that the “one size fits all” model does not work.

‘There is a lack of investment in care workers. Their low pay and status are in sharp contrast to the level of responsibility, trust and skills they require to provide quality home care in elderly people’s homes.

‘However, GMB is shocked that the report does not recognise the root cause of the systemic problems it identifies.

‘This is that making money, which is the main aim of the private sector care companies, is not compatible with providing the decent level of care to the elderly which is paid for by public funds.

‘The Commission does not recognise that home care is the latest sector to attract the interest of private equity.

‘Private equity owned AA has recently taken over Nestor Healthcare Group Ltd and Allied Healthcare Group home care companies.

‘Private equity owned AA has demonstrated that making vast profits for the multi-millionaire elite is its number one objective.’

Heather Wakefield, Unison head of local government said: ‘Every elderly person receiving homecare should be able to expect to be treated with dignity and respect. . .

‘Serious underfunding has driven down workforce conditions and service quality to worrying levels.

‘Unison has long been warning that selling fifteen-minute slots off to the lowest bidder would not deliver quality home care.

‘Companies eager to eke out profits are cramming calls – how can an elderly person get the care they need if a fifteen-minute time slot is cut? And how can a home carer be expected to deliver it?’