Sunday, June 05, 2011

Caring for the Elderly

'Appeared' on BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement this morning. The subject was 'care of the elderly'. Fellow guests were Baroness Finley and a new Labour AM named Mark Drayford. Never encountered him before. He seemed very keen to be party political. Started off by talking about Mrs Thatcher for goodness sake, and later on started talking about reductions in public spending as if it was nothing whatsoever to do with the Labour Party. When discussing a really important subject I do find this approach to be so tiresome - so I just ignored him. I think Vaughan found him tiresome as well.

Reason this issue was under discussion today was the publicity there has been through this last week about Southern Cross, an issue that's been on my radar for a year. Southern Cross is the biggest care provider in the UK, and has been an accident waiting to happen. Lets set aside the 'care' aspect of this, and consider the financial structure of this company - put together in great haste, during a property boom about 5/6 years ago, by a private equity company, split into two and sold on (at graet profit). The problem as I see it, is that the property side of the business, and the operational side are completely separate entities. There's nothing wrong with this model if its a group of hotels say, or golf courses. If the property side goes awry (which happens) the casualties can look after themselves. But care home residents can't. When there are unplanned home closures, there is inevitable a great deal of human misery, and accellerated deaths. My view is that there should be financial regulation as well as care regulation to ensure that only sound business models are allowed to operate in the sector.

Truth is we are moving forward into a massive crisis in care delivery. We are living to be older, which brings with it a huge dementia problem which we are not ready for. It must be faced. The Coalition Government did put some 'sticking plaster' money into this sector last year, while we await the publication of a comprehensive report into the future - by the Dilnot Commission, expected later this year. We cannot carry on as we are. We have to find some way of paying for care. We have to find ways of keeping people in their own homes for longer. Failure to do these things will carry a massive price - paid by the most vulnerable people in our society. Its too big an issue to play political games with.


Anonymous said...

I liked the consensus politics there was in the Assembly last term; I think it was quite refreshing. I can completely understand politicians being 'political' before election campaigns. But the election is now over; they should get on with the job.

And you've hit the nail on the head, the new group of AM's are massively partisan. I thought I watch one of the Assemblies debate some time ago and it was dreadful. The statements were just awful "thatcher policies" "ConDem this and that". It really was cringeworthy. The Assembly now just feels like a Council with petty squabbles from bench to bench.

Although in fairness Plaid and the LibDems aren't hugely partisan, and their contributions were as usual pretty good. Any criticisms they made was of the Welsh Gov or Ministers- and rightly too, that is what the assembly is there for.

I think it's going to be a long five year Assembly! I am really surprised at the 'talent of AMs' there is too!

Anonymous said...

surprised you've not heard of Mark Drakeford Glyn, he used to be Rhodri Morgan's economic adviser when he was First Minister

The same Mark Drakeford who is against any form of enterprise but who bought a million pound house, not far from his pal Rhodri's out of his highly paid public sector wages.

Anonymous said...

Mark is a very able guy who always puts the Party first. Despite being Rhodri Morgans' brian or is that brain? he is an able guy Glyn.

Your support for the Care side of things is well known and the three parts of the health and social sector together can help Wales durring these hard pressed times.

Mark needs to get out of Cardiff more and see the reality of Wales