Socialist Worker

Residents left without food as care crisis grows

Some care home residents face hefty bills as the quality of care gets worse, says Raymie Kiernan

Issue No. 2534

Protesting against care cuts in Glasgow last year

Protesting against care cuts in Glasgow last year (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Tory prime minister Theresa May and her chancellor Philip Hammond are about to heap more misery on working class families with a council tax hike.

They claim this will be used to fund social care. In reality they hope to use the social care crisis to squeeze even more out of workers.

Funding for adult social care has been slashed by a third since 2010 in some local authority areas.

And the number of older people receiving council-funded care dropped by more than a quarter between 2009 and 2013-14.

This has fuelled a deep crisis. The Tories have ignored warning after warning.

But the state of home, residential and nursing care is now so bad even the nasty party feels it has to be seen to act.

Over 11,000 care home residents are not being fed properly or are being left without food and drink every year, government figures recently revealed.

Since the start of 2015 some 312 homes were found to be in breach of basic standards to ensure residents aren’t hungry or dehydrated.

The crisis is an indisputable, damning verdict on Tory austerity.

Complaints about home care have jumped by a quarter in the past year alone and complaints over residential homes have risen by 21 percent.

Quality

Yet as the quality of care slumps, fees have soared by more than 20 percent in just one year.

Tens of thousands of older people in care homes are also being hit with bills for hidden extras.

At some point one in five has received a shock bill. Examples include a £2,000 “management fee” or a £1,000 phone charge, according to Citizens Advice.

A huge turnover in staff sees one in seven workers employed in care homes on contracts with no guaranteed hours.

Low pay is endemic.

And while the Tories attack migrants, some 90,000 European Union migrants make up 7 percent of the workforce. One in five care workers was born outside Britain.

Big firms make millions from care homes.

But if bosses’ profits are threatened, they don’t hesitate to drop the poor, sick and vulnerable.

At least 250 residential care homes have closed since March, with 5,000 beds lost over the past 18 months. This is fuelling other crises.

Delayed discharges from hospital due to a lack of suitable care outside have rocketed by 224 percent since 2010.

The Tories’ worship of the market is causing this crisis. Labour and the trade union leaders should launch a real fightback against austerity.

 


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