Social Care Crisis

June 19, 2011

“On my 12-hour night shift there are just three carers and one nurse for 50 residents. These are patients with acute needs, it’s impossible to give them the attention they need. Over the years, the demands on staff – most of whom are on the minimum wage – have increased as cutbacks take their toll; there is an increasing burden of paperwork, with the company threatening disciplinary action if such tasks aren’t completed on time.”

Southern Cross employee

Two recent events have laid bare the crisis in the ‘social care market’: the scandalous abuse at the Winterbourne View care home in Bristol, which was the subject of the Panorama documentary, and the potential collapse of Southern Cross, the largest provider of care home places. It recently reported a loss of £311 million in just 6 months and unilaterally cut the rent it pays to the owners of the homes by 30%. The management has said that unless they reach an agreement with the landlords of their homes then they will have to “cease trading”. This raises the prospect of some of their homes closing or being taken over by other providers. At any rate it has created anxiety amongst old and vulnerable residents as well as the low paid staff who work for the company. How did this situation come about? Read the rest of this entry »


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