Last week I watched “Panorama” on BBC1 which investigated the state of the care industry. Sometimes when you see programmes on TV or read articles in the newspaper about your industry, i.e care, it is clear that the content is produced by people who don’t really understand the care industry. In many case they resort to the lazy cliched stories – usually about carers abusing older people, or care homes falling below standard!
However, the Panorama programme really did focus on the issues the care industry. They interviewed a range of people from care business owners like myself through to care staff, customers, customers families and those running social services. Generally speaking they avoided the usual “blame game”. I felt the programme highlighted the “perfect storm” – people over 80 years old will double in 20 years but no-one really knows how the care will be funded or delivered. At the present time record employment levels not seen since 1975 are great but for the care sector it means a chronic staff shortage. Usually this is dealt with by raising wages to attract/retain care staff (they deserve a decent wage) but if those paying for the service don’t raise hourly care rates better wages cannot be paid for. As a result we are seeing care homes close, care companies giving rural packages back because they cannot even cover costs- at a time when care need are exploding – its madness!
My own “bug bear” is BREXIT, I don’t have strong views on Europe but it does seem it has caused us to stop thinking about anything else. I am completely mystified as to why we cannot get a Care Green Paper published on the future on care because of BREXIT! London has an army of civil servants. I think in a few years time we will look back and realise 4 years on BREXIT debate has stopped the county moving forward in other ways – care, transport, education, business support etc.
The upshot of all this – we need the Government to invest the time in working out how care will be provided to our growing elderly population. If we do not we will be in a position where we have more need and fewer care delivers.