Care and progress? – Or ideology gone too far?

Plymouth – July 2010

THREE council-run residential homes could be closed as the city changes the way it looks after elderly and vulnerable people.

And a respite unit for people with learning disabilities also faces closure if the city council Cabinet agrees at its meeting next Tuesday.

The changes will come as part of a wider strategy to modernise care services.

The council has already moved older people out of a number of out-dated residential centres and into new extra care schemes where they can be helped to live with more independence.

Fife – October 2010-10

As public spending cuts begin to bite, councillors will be asked to consider three cost-saving options when the social work and health committee meet on Tuesday (19th October).

One of these includes closing all local authority residential care homes with residents moving to another care home of their choice in the private or not for profit sector.

Fife – October 2010 update

While councillors agreed on Tuesday to reject a plan which would have seen all 10 of its care homes closed and residents transferred to places in the private and voluntary sector, question marks remain over seven of the homes after the council agreed to consult with a view to “replacing existing provision as and when suitable alternative provision becomes available.”

Llanelli – October 2010

A new row is brewing over controversial plans to close two Llanelli care homes.

Union chiefs have complained to the Assembly Government  over the public consultation exercise being carried out on Caemaen and St Paul’s care homes

Carmarthenshire Council denies Unison’s claims the exercise is “unfair and inadequate”.

The union says the consultation document includes options to close both homes and privatise residential care home services.

Suffolk – October 2010

The council is to look at all 16 homes that it operates across the county – and has come up with three options for the future:

Option 1 – Closing the homes and buying in services from the private sector.

Option 2 – Selling off all the homes as going concerns.

Option 3 – Closing six homes and trying to sell off the remaining 10.

Isle of Wight – October 2010

Also proposed in the far-reaching consultation are plans to scrap free home care for the over 80s and increase charges for services, including meals on wheels, home care and day centre sessions — plans which have sparked concern among carers.
Frances Wright, chairman of the Isle of Wight branch of Carers UK, said: “All these charges will add up. It’s not just money — people are worried about paying for services but they are also worried services will disappear.”
A report commissioned by healthcare watchdog, the IW LINk, suggested further plans to cut support services for all but the most vulnerable people could prove to be a false economy. It found money spent on preventative social care services resulted in long-term savings for the council and other agencies, such as the NHS.

This week’s Comprehensive Spending Review has caused Nigel Edwards, Acting Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, to warn in a letter to The Daily Telegraph that hospital beds in England may fill up with the elderly and vulnerable because of cuts to local authority social care funding.  “Hospital beds will be blocked for those who badly need care because the support services the elderly require after discharge will not be available.”

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Once upon a time – not a bedtime story, this one! – elderly and vulnerable people were spending longer than necessary in nasty, horrible, depressing, run-down Victorian long-stay hospitals.  Many were fairly averagely normal (whatever that means) when they arrived; some were just seen as a danger to the public, so were lifted and incarcerated.  Before long they became institutionalised to such an extent that a return to normal life in the community wasn’t on the cards.   Even young unmarried women who had become pregnant were forcibly held in some of these appalling institutions – and they never recovered from the experience.

Then, as the Welfare State gained strength, and as society gradually improved its attitudes towards the needy, the vulnerable, and those with disabilities, there was a plan to close these places down, once and for all.   From the 1960s, Care in the Community became the buzzword.  Then slowly,  all people were to have the same human right to a life with dignity, regardless of  their age, gender, race, colour … and so on.  Goodbye to institutions, asylums, long-stay hospitals.  Hello to care.  Or so we thought.

Here we are now, with the biggest onslaught about to take place on our public services, our welfare state, with the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly and the poor all about to become victims of a brutal ideology gone too far. Without a mandate from the Great British people for such draconian measures.  I want nothing to do with that kind of Big Society.

We found a way to care in the community.  Is there no place for care in the big society?

At the memorial service for PC Toms, on Monday 18 October 2010, David Cameron quoted “evil thrives when good men do nothing” – and as I watched a clip on TV News of him saying that, I wondered to myself whether the (then undeclared) Comprehensive Spending Review would bring a similar thought to our minds.

They don’t care, do they?

So we will have to show them that we care.

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Filed under care, care homes, growing older, politics

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