I couldn’t watch this programme. The abuse was horrific. If you don’t know already, it was about physical and emotional abuse delivered by ‘care’ staff in a private hospital to patients with complex learning disability and mental health problems.
Question Time just now is going on about private vs NHS care services. There is no way that a profit making enterprise divorced from the NHS can serve patients better. Setting care homes or units up outwith the NHS means that the communication and learning, support and teaching that is part of the ethos of the National Health Service is lost. You replace collaboration with competition. It does not work. The worst of it is, this is what the government’s health bill proposes – more of the same. More private companies chipping off bits of the whole NHS, for profit. It’s interesting and worrying that the places where there is most third sector/private sector involvement – mental health, old people’s care homes, learning disability, terminal care – there are most gaps for patients to fall into. Presumably profiteers see more areas to make their money but reducing costs.
Where do they reduce these costs? The other problem which QT is not addressing is the fact that care assistants are paid about £6.50- 7 an hour, just above the minimum wage. As a society, we have to think about who we value. Care assistants do a very difficult and demanding job, and should be valued by their employers and wider society. Care assistants should be given good training, good ongoing support, ongoing training, and decent wages. It should be a valid career option for people who are willing to work hard and do something of vital importance to vulnerable people. If easier, non vocational work pays the same, we are hardly going to make caring a viable career option.
Improve care for vulnerable people: pay carers more.