Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Care Homes Crisis

Southern Cross Healthcare, which runs 750 care homes for older and disabled people all over the country, is in financial crisis and concerns are being raised about what would happen to its 31,000 vulnerable residents if it goes bust.

A report in yesterday's Independent highlighted the issues at Tower Bridge Care Centre in Bermondsey (on Tower Bridge Road), with somebody visiting their father quoted as saying: "It's a big concern because there's a lot of Alzheimer's people here and with Alzheimer's, you have to be comfortable with your surroundings".

Other Southern Cross facilities in SE London include:

- Alexander Care Centre, 21 Rushy Mead, Lewisham;
- Beechcroft Nursing Home, 327/329 Brownhill Road, Catford;
-Brook House Care Centre, 20 Meadowford Close, Thamesmere Drive, Thamesmead;
- Camberwell Green Care Centre, 54 Camberwell Green, Camberwell.

Meanwhile Castlebeck, another private care home provider, is in a different sort of crisis after the Panorama programme exposed abuse of patients at its Winterbourne View hospital in Bristol.

These incidents highlight the contradictions in the Government's attempts to give private companies like these a greater role in running NHS services. Firstly, the positive aspects of the NHS are not just that it is 'free at the point of delivery' (except for dental care!) but that the people working in it are not compelled to compromise patient care for the sake of private profit. Secondly, relying on the market to provide for the sick and vulnerable ignores what happens when markets fail. Companies like Southern Cross have expanded rapidly as a result of venture capital investment predicated on making a profit, now these profits are not being realized what happens to the service users? Are they at risk of losing their homes? Or will cash-starved local authorities be expected to act as a safety-net and take over 'unprofitable' care homes?

Protest against 'death of the NHS' in Lewisham

There's a 'sombre gathering' for the NHS this Saturday 4th June, with a mock funeral procession starting at 1pm at Lewisham Hospital and marching onto Lewisham town centre.

A local campaigner behind the event, Lucy Trantor said "If the cuts and privatisation plans are carried out, the NHS will exist in name only - and the idea of quality healthcare for everyone will die with it. The government plans to introduce fragmentation, competition and privatisation into a functioning health system. Why? It isn't for our benefit. While the NHS can always be improved, market 'solutions' are no way to do it, because no part of the system can afford to fail or lose its money to profit-making companies."

Still think Dr Louise Irvine's critique is the most lucid I have come across; I am right behind this demonstration but think that it's arguably too soon for a funeral - don't mourn organise, as they used to say, well actually I still say ;-)

Event details here

1 comment:

Tamsin said...

I so agree with you about Dr Irvine's exposition of her concerns - as part of the organising you advocate how can we get a link to this film out there for it to be watched by as many MPs as possible?

Thinking of MPs, this evening - Friday 10th at 18.15 - 38degrees are handing in a petition on the NHS reforms to Joan Ruddock at the Leemore Centre, Albion Way.