I have been thinking over the last weeks, [some would say that makes a change, others would wonder if I can], about care for the elderly and disabled as well as the NHS and privatisation.
Lately we have had a couple of bad examples of care homes in the headlines, and we are always getting reports of problems in hospitals and you have to wonder why. So that is why I have been thinking.
So is all this new, well no it has happened in the past but seems more prevalent these days, that could of course be down to more media but I don’t think so. This type of story always made for good headlines and these days it is only a few media groups which really do this type of reporting anyway. So therefore it seems to me that there is more of this lack of care in the caring organisations going on.
I have a friend who has spent the last 20 years or so either in the DHSS; working as a nurse; running care homes or working for the care commission and its predecessors. Having listened to him over the years and seen various situations arise in the news I think I have a reasonable grasp on this.
For me I think that a lot of the troubles we have in this area is down to profit. When most of the hospitals were either charities or state run, when care homes were run by the local people [council] or charities there primary aim was care not profit. Now I am not saying all private care is bad just that with owners and shareholders wanting to maximise there profit there is a tendency to drive down costs by employing the cheapest workers, cutting back on non essential care like activities etc. By employing the cheapest and lowest number of workers who in the main have little reason to do the work carefully, after all they are not valued so why should they be expected to value others. Yes these institutions are supposed to be inspected, but the relevant inspectors rarely manage once every couple of years and now most inspections are done by paper and phone exercises.
So what do we expect from private profit before care, no physical inspections and low paid workers?
So what to do?
Well first off inspect more. Pay the staff better and make sure there are enough well qualified staff. make sure that no group can be taking profit from hospitals or care homes, they are a service not a product. Allow locals to have good access so that there is less secrecy and therefore less change to do these bad things.
Finally respect and love for those in these places, the sick, old and infirm. Love should be uppermost not profit. After all we can all end up there at some point isn’t it worth getting it right?