For care in the community, read profits before people

Shock, horror is at it again regarding care. The review of home care by the Equality Commission has found that care supplied by agencies to people’s homes may be breaching their human rights.

Disabled girl being fed
Want to eat at home? Put it on the bill
Half of the 500,000 people receiving such care reported they are satisfied with the care provided, half are not and there is no shortage of shock, horror stories.

We have been down this road before in the treatment of vulnerable people in care homes, now we see the problem is endemic in private houses.

It is too easy to suggest that it is because the providers are mainly private companies and are stretching their resources to squeeze as much money out of the time provided for each home visit. After all, local authority provision has been found out in these areas many times. But it does leave a bad taste when you realise that profits are not only coming before people, they are also dependant on the misery of people.

I know about this first hand. Two years ago a private company bought the adjoining terrace house to us and made it into a small care home for five women with mental health problems. Having worked in this area myself when I was a social worker I know the problems associated with placing people in the community who cannot cope with the everyday pressures this change of lifestyle brings. The result, one resident had to be moved back to secure accommodation after a litany of abuse, screaming and inappropriate behaviour culminating in her hurling a heavy object into our garden and so threatening the safety of our children. And now we are being forced to complain about another resident who presents similar behaviour. Having bought such services when I was a commissioning manager, I know the kind of riches that can be made from working with vulnerable people coming form a secure or semi-secure environment. It does not take much of a mathematical brain to see why the company in question is prevaricating on our complaints.

I do not have a problem with companies which provide a good service being able to manage care services but too often ‘good service’ takes a back seat to ‘healthy profits’ with the subsequent shock, horror reports of neglect.

The answer to these problems is actually quite simple; registration, inspections and follow-ups should be much more rigorous than they are. CQC on taking my complaint, made an unannounced inspection, found the resident was out and left it at that. It is this kind of intransigence that leads to shock, horror headlines.

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