Now home care is in crisis

Owl says: if you believe that final paragraph you will believe anything and, if you are old or otherwise vulnerable should not complain when you get no help! Though some, of course, will be rich enough to buy their way out of trouble – but it was ever thus.

“Home care contracts are being ripped up across half the country as companies say they are no longer paid enough by councils to look after the elderly.

Dozens of care providers are going bust and a quarter are at risk of insolvency as local authorities force down what they pay for carers to go into the homes of the elderly and provide essential help, research has found.

Hundreds of thousands of older people are already going without help with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing as councils cut back and there are fears that the problem will worsen if companies collapse.
The elderly care system was promised an emergency injection of £2 billion over three years in the budget, but councils say a long-term solution to keep pace with an ageing population is needed if the money is not simply to delay disaster.

Freedom of information requests by the BBC Panorama programme found that 95 of 197 councils which replied had seen home care contracts cancelled.
Mears, one of the largest home care companies, handed back a contract with Liverpool city council in the summer, saying they could not cover costs at the £13.10 an hour they were being paid. “That was a terrible thing to do for both service users and for care staff. We absolutely did not take that [decision] lightly, but frankly what choice did we have?” Alan Long, from the company, told the programme.

Colin Angel, of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, an industry body, said: “We have some really desperate providers who really do not know whether they’re going to be able to continue in business beyond the next year. That means they’re really having to make some hard commercial decisions, whether they might need to cease trading or indeed just hand back work to local councils.”

Analysis for Panorama by the consultancy Opus Restructuring found that a quarter of Britain’s 2,500 home care companies were at risk of insolvency, and 69 had shut down in the past three months.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Older and vulnerable people must get compassionate care, which is why we have provided councils with £9.25 billion of dedicated funding, including an extra £1 billion in 2017-18 to provide immediate relief. We will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure a more financially sustainable social care system.”

Source: The Times (paywall)