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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 November 2018

Major private care operator puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk

photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)

photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Caroline Vincent, Leicester East Socialist Party

The crisis in social care continues to worsen, as local authorities are being warned that they should be preparing to arrange alternative provision for 13,500 elderly and disabled people by the end of the month.

The reason for this alarming advice from the Quality Care Commission is that Allied Healthcare - a major private provider of care at home across the UK - looks to be on the brink of collapse.

That this could happen to a company in the care sector isn't a huge surprise - the demise of Southern Cross in 2011 was a worrying portent.

But the current ill health of the care industry began in the 1980s, when it was one of the first parts of the healthcare sector to be handed over to privateers.

Outrageously, Allied Healthcare has responded by stating that this situation has been caused in part by an increase in the minimum wage, and the strain that this has put on its payroll.

I moved in with my dad to care for him during the last months of his life. I was allowed some desperately needed respite - and he was afforded some dignity - by the incredible and vitally important job that home carers perform.

It is beyond despicable for the company to lay the blame for this catastrophe on the paltry pay rise that its staff have received!

When Southern Cross collapsed, it was due to an unsustainable business model that flourished during the property boom, but couldn't withstand the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Now, once again, thousands of elderly and vulnerable people have been put at risk by another greedy, private company that has sought to profit from an ageing population.

The care crisis has been caused by a devastating combination of privatisation, government cuts and underfunding of services.

Bringing services back into public ownership, operated under democratic control, is the only way to guarantee service users the help that they need, and workers the decent pay and conditions that they deserve.

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