November 12, 2018
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
We have heard that Allied Healthcare, a major provider of local authority-commissioned homecare, may be on the brink of collapse.
Of course, struggling homecare providers are symptomatic of the under-funding of public provision of social care which many groups have been warning about for many years, so much so that they have been suspected of overstating their case. The predicted collapse of the social care system, such as it is, has been a long time coming – people in positions of local authority have been known to murmer terms like ‘crying wolf’ and ‘crocodile tears’ in response to the anguished wringing of hands by private providers and the dark prophesies of their representative organisations. But now the accusations of saurian sobbing have dried up and the wolf is at the door.
But Allied’s troubles also highlight a long-standing absurdity – local authorities’ remit to “manage the market”. Whoever thought that an occupational group, nurtured almost exclusively within the public sector, with scant commercial experience, many of whom have a deep-seated philosophical antipathy to the private sector, could manage something as complex as the social care market, quite frankly should have had their head read.
I think it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who had a notice on his desk saying “The buck stops here”. Allied Healthcare is no Southern Cross; its possible collapse is not of its own making and ultimate responsibility for this mismanagement of social care, and the resulting burgeoning unmet need, rests of course with national governments which have abrogated their responsibility for the welfare of elderly citizens.
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