The privatisation that threatens the NHS has been a reality in the care industry – for an industry is what it has become – since the 1980s.
Since the 1980s the provision of care in people’s homes or in residential care and nursing homes has become a for profit industry. The private and other non-public sectors currently own or run 86% of the elderly care homes sector. In the past 20 years the percentage of state funded services given to people in their own homes by private providers has risen from 5% to 89%.
As the market has developed more and more small care home operators have been replaced by giant private care operators run by private equity funds, hedge funds and conglomerates.
Because their primary motivation is profit, the pressure is on to keep fees high, wages low, and to close homes and evict residents at short notice if they no longer yield big enough returns. The regular scandals seen in the press and on TV about standards of care in homes have not come from nowhere; they have come from an ideologically driven privatisation. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently admitted that it faces problems upholding quality standards in its regulation of nursing and residential homes. It admitted to reluctance to intervene decisively because of fears of incurring legal action or triggering the collapse of providers.
- We support the provision of new local authority care homes to provide quality local care for those who need them.
- We oppose the closure of existing local authority elderly care homes.
- We will bring back into local authority ownership any care home that threatens closure and eviction of its residents.