- 2019 National Delegate Conference
- 25 February 2019
There is an increasing demand for care in the UK. The proportion of elderly people requiring care in the future will place even more demands on a service that is already struggling.
With year-on-year cuts to local councils, over 1.8 million people are already denied access to care. This will, as time passes, create an increase in the number of people assessed as being in critical need. It will also place a further burden on the NHS in the intervening period.
The private sector provision of care – whether residential, nursing or home care – will see growth as budget cuts hit local authorities and hospital trusts. Currently, approximately 80% of all social care is delivered by the private sector. Billions of pounds are spent on tendering processes – money that could be invested in hospitals and local services.
Many residential/nursing homes are no longer owned by local authorities, with the majority of home care outsourced. Private care homes often use untrained staff or staff with limited training and do not have the necessary ratio of carers to patients. The turnover of staff is high in these establishments.
Although there are many very good and caring staff working in this field, they are amongst the lowest paid. They struggle with the demands of patients and a lack of support from their managers, who themselves are often not trained in the effective management of care. There is frequently not enough staff to be able to afford the care, dignity and respect that should be given to elderly patients, particularly where the needs of patients are complex and time consuming. Stressful situations can lead to heightened incidents of verbal and/or physical abuse.
Although most care homes will display menus with choices, there is, in actual fact, little choice. Food is often scarce and not nutritional in its value to older people. Elderly and disabled people in the care system are not getting enough food and drink leading to hospitalisation due to malnutrition and dehydration.
A report “Where Does the Money Go?” shows how much the taxpayer is giving to private companies and how little actually reaches the individual needing care. It is not acceptable that these private companies can structure themselves in such a way as to lay the risk at the door of staff, patients and councils.
Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:
1)Challenge and raise awareness of the various financial structures which companies use which may place the elderly and vulnerable at risk;
2)Work to challenge practices that are against equality and human rights legislation including lack of procedures to protect residents from misappropriation of personal finances;
3)Seek to achieve a longer-term aim of reabsorbing the provision of care into the public sector.