UNISON, the UK’s largest union, has today called for urgent Government action to stop debt-laden private companies from taking over residential care homes before leaving vulnerable residents high and dry. The call comes in the wake of the collapse of scandal-hit Castlebeck throwing the future care of more than 200 residents into doubt.
Following the collapse of Southern Cross in 2011 the union warned that it was only a matter of time that Southern Cross 2 would happen, without clear Government action and greater scrutiny of private company finance.
Helga Pile, UNISON National Officer for Social Care, said:
“The collapse of Castlebeck is very distressing for the more than 200 residents and the staff who now face an uncertain future. Residents and their families were clearly shaken by the revelations of abuse at Winterborne View and now very vulnerable people with learning disabilities and mental illnesses are to be bought and sold again in the private sector.
“It is high time for a radical shake-up of the care sector. It is the dangerous privatisation experiment that should abandoned – not residents. Just as the public sector had to step in and pick up the pieces when Southern Cross went into administration, they will have to do so again.
“The Government has failed to ensure stronger restrictions on debt-laden companies in Monitor’s new licence for NHS providers and this type of Southern Cross scenario is now likely to become more prominent in the NHS as well as social care.”