Media Coverage of the Care Sector in Crisis

You may have recently seen an article written by Sonia Sodha in the Guardian on 10 December 2016, entitled Underfunded and Overstretched - The Crisis in Care For The Elderly, which was an interesting read and gives a fairly balanced view of the sector.  

There is no doubt that bad publicity sells newspapers and it is easy to report on matters that have gone array.  However my perception, gained through advising many nursing and care home operators, is of a sector desperate to look after its service users with care and dignity but which sometimes finds this a challenge, given the level of funding currently available in the sector as a whole, and in certain areas more specifically.  There is no doubt that those operators who get this right put care at the forefront of everything that they do and that an ethos of empowerment washes through its team resulting in fantastic care for its service users.  Good operators manage a team and make sure that the team are supported in every way possible. Despite all of that there will always be occasions where things don’t go right and I am a strong believer in judging operators on how quickly, efficiently and sensitively they deal with problems, to prevent them becoming major issues.

Often good operators find themselves criticised for operating their business as exactly that: a business that has to make a profit.  Local authorities, PCT’s and newspapers in particular appear to feel that operators should not make a reasonable living.  However, most of the operators that we act for have put their own homes on the line, and have taken risks like any other business owner and so are entitled to reap the rewards of their labour.  Many people look at the bottom line profits of businesses in the sector and tut.  However, they fail to take account of the fact that operators often have huge properties that either require a constant maintenance programme or a maintenance programme on a rolling cycle so that good years are followed by not so good years where large capital amounts are spent in maintaining those properties.  The CQC also assesses homes based on their properties, as well as the level of care they provide. In my opinion, we should not castigate operators for  running their business efficiently with a view to making a profit.

Here is a link to the article referred to, should you wish to read it.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/10/care-for-elderly-crisis-...

It is an interesting take on the sector and, as always, I would be interested to hear your views and opinions.

 Colin Peacock - Healthcare Specialist