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For those in peril on the sea

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

It is now no exaggeration to say that care homes are caught in a maelstrom, and that many of the older, smaller ones are like to founder with all hands.

I have used a maritime metaphor in the spirit of a recent short film in which a care home manager buttonholes a care minister and brings him to account in the style of Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’ – a little overstated but worth a watch.

Maelstroms, or whirlpools, often occur in estuaries and inshore waters where strong tidal races interact with shoals and channels. Such strength can they build, they can sometimes destroy smaller craft which come within their influence.

Smaller care homes have for years been sailing in unfriendly waters; public funding has been barely sufficient to keep them afloat while underpaid yet valiant crews have done their best to keep them seaworthy and safe as wealthier passengers have opted for newly-built, more lavishly appointed luxury vessels, while along the looming lee shore the breakers can be heard pounding upon the regulatory rocks.

And yet they ply their trade, these smaller craft; a little regarded flotilla which nevertheless provides a valuable service to the nation. But then along comes Covid – the mercury in the occupancy glass plummets and costs climb; the slowly deteriorating conditions suddenly become horrendous.

The tempest shows little sign of abating and, as owners find the cost of insuring their vessels becomes ever more swingeing, the bell at Lloyds is likely to be heard ringing out its mournful single note more often as the maelstrom takes yet another in its implacable grip.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 Replies to “For those in peril on the sea”

  1. Thanks for drawing attention to the video. I hadn’t seen it and it’s very good.
    It’s appalling how good small care homes have been ruined by a combination of government policies (for a long time) and finance, big greedy corporations, overbearing ignorant regulation, and the collusion of those who would call themselves social care leaders and professionals. While the malign and neglectful combination of government and “industry” is expected, we should have been able to trust professionals in regulation and in social care to stand up for good care (whoever provides it) in the small LOCAL homes. It’s out-of-town shopping malls versus the high street and village shop. We have to go on fighting!

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