Outsourcing resulted in the degradation of the terms and conditions of the workers in care homes. Privatisation of care homes was much more marked in England than Scotland. It is likely to be easier to take social care out of private hands in Scotland than England.
Here is why.
“Market Penetration:….In 1979, 64% of residential and nursing home beds were still provided by local authorities or the NHS; by 2012 it was 6%. In the case of domiciliary care, 95% was directly provided by local authorities as late as 1993; by 2012 it was just 11% ….
Market Fragmentation:….The care home sector supports around 410,000 residents across 11,300 homes from 5500 different providers….
Market Fragility:….Much of the Southern Cross provision was eventually taken over by another major provider, Four Seasons, which is itself now at high risk of going under. Either through financial collapse or strategic withdrawal the market model is at tipping point.”
In Scotland. Dr Donald Macaskill of Scottish Care, which represents private care homes, says there are significant differences between here and the rest of the UK. He said that around one in five of Scotland’s 725 private homes are owned by the biggest operators.
Both Scotland and England provided support for infection control in care homes. The provisions of these can be found at these links.
The Scottish provisions do not include agency staff or the self employed (of whom there are likely to be few).
In England, there were provisions relating to a fund to support infection control in care homes.
It said, “Local authorities must ensure that 75% of the grant is allocated to support the following measures in respect of care homes:…
…ensuring, in so far as possible, that members of staff work in only one care home. This includes staff who work for one provider across several homes or staff that work on a part-time basis for multiple employers and includes agency staff (the principle being that the fewer locations that members of staff work in the better, for example compensating staff whose normal hours are reduced due to restrictions on their movement)”
So, if the owner of a certain private care home operating in Kent received financial support for infection control while sending agency staff to another care home in Scotland, that would be funding that would be inappropriate, would it not?.
Kate Belgrave is a journalist whom I admire greatly.
“Thus, the Infection Control Fund – a thin paper to stretch over another yawning central crack. Needless to say, at the local level, interpretations of the use of the ICF have been intriguing – ie absolutely random and often a circus. This ALWAYS happens when government attempts to address a major structural problem (such as Statutory Sick Pay) in a crisis (such as covid-19’s razing through carehomes) by lobbing a handful of cash at it and hoping for the best.
The problem is that you don’t always get the best, no matter how much government hopes for it. The social media screenshots I received of a conversation about the ICF with a carehome manager were certainly an eye-opener. The manager in that dialogue said that they wouldn’t use ICF money to pay full wages for careworkers who were off work with covid symptoms, because it wouldn’t be fair to careworkers who were off sick with illnesses other than covid (the ICF is aimed at careworkers with covid symptoms, or who’ve had a positive test, etc). That manager in that post said the choice was a “moral” one – ie that it would be unfair to pay full wages to one group of sick careworkers, but not to another.”
Kate, and our Hetty, are right on the money.It is the inadequate levels of sick pay that makes all this crap necessary.
In the absence of any action on the part of the Scottish government we need to discuss the political system we want. A Nordic model or an Irish model. Both discounted by the Growth Commission report which should be put in the bin.