Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/675/12220
Winterbourne View - fight privatisation, end abuses
The multiple accounts of abuse being investigated at Winterbourne View private hospital near Bristol are sickening and upsetting. They show the reality of privatised health and social care services.
Privatisation is dangerous. It mainly benefits the rich tycoons who profit from the so-called 'care' of vulnerable people. The organisation that runs the private hospital, Castlebeck, can charge over £4,500 a week for some patients.
I work in public services and have been involved with Winterbourne View. Yes, those responsible for abuse must accept responsibility for their own actions. But when a hospital is run to make a profit the workers suffer low pay, inadequate or non-existent training, no support or supervision. Such conditions often allow abuse like this to thrive.
The government claims its investigation into these abuses comes from concern for the vulnerable abused people. But, the revelations come at a time when the Con-Dem government's health reforms are taking a battering.
Winterbourne is not the only high profile example of the reality of private health and social care services. Top care provider Southern Cross also faces economic crisis which puts thousands of vulnerable older people and staff under threat of job losses and homelessness.
In a capitalist society vulnerable, disabled and older people are not valued as equal citizens, they are increasingly targeted by profiteering companies as a route to a quick buck. Vulnerable people pay not only with their money but also through the violation of their most basic human rights. We must fight back to stop the privatisation of our public services and end these abuses.
Care worker, Bristol
FT has doubts about private homes
The Financial Times (13 June) claims that NHS Information Centre data show that over 10,000 vulnerable adults living in England, many of them with profound learning and physical disabilities, were abused in the six months up to March 2010. The suspected abuse was either in their own homes or in residential accommodation - either by relatives or poorly trained care staff.
The FT comments about "growing concern that care for elderly and disabled adults in England is of poor quality, underfunded, too lightly regulated and over-dependent on private providers. An investigation [by the FT] last month found one in seven private homes was rated either 'poor' or adequate by the regulator."
When the FT, the biggest defender of the capitalist market in the public sector, starts criticising the defects of private homes, shouldn't the trade unions be asking questions?
Why on earth should there be a commercial market in 'care' for defenceless old and disabled people? Who runs these homes? Who decides on priorities for the vulnerable residents? Private care homes should be taken into public ownership, either within the NHS or as part of a fully financed local authority social services department. Then problems such as poor training can be addressed, rather than concentrating on maintaining private profits.
In The Socialist 15 June 2011:
Fighting the cuts
NHS news & campaigning
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis