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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 April 2020

Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands

photo Joe D Miles for CQC (Creative Commons)

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

Dave Gorton, Chesterfield Socialist Party

There is growing anger at the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. 400,000 people living in care homes have been abandoned - surrendered to the virus. Most of the elderly and frail who contract Covid-19 will not be hospitalised, but left to die without adequate medical attention.

Only 217 coronavirus-related care home deaths were officially recorded in England and Wales up to 3 April. But the National Care Forum, a collection of not-for-profit organisations, estimates the figure is now over 4,000.

The government disingenuously says this discrepancy is to do with the timing of data collection, but the truth is that the fatality figures released are only those who die in hospital. As most are privately run, there is no official data about how many people actually live in care homes, never mind die of coronavirus there!

It is a huge industry, mostly run for profit, not for compassionate reasons. The lack of PPE provision for workers in private care homes can be pinpointed directly to maintaining profits.

In England alone, there are 18,500 care providers, and 17,000 mostly 'standalone' residential and nursing homes. This is not a care system planned to care for those in need. It is profit-driven, and this crisis is demonstrating the anarchy of the free market in all its brutality.

The majority in care are in residential establishments. They don't need nursing; they're in care because of dementia or other needs which can't be provided in the community. What they rely on is close attention which can't be provided without hands-on support. Social distancing is impossible in care homes.

What is possible is full PPE for the staff, testing for everyone, and proper live-in facilities for staff to prevent them bringing in, or taking out, the virus. Possible - but they eat into profits, so the bosses won't hand them over easily. The trade unions must lead a fight for them.

Those whose families suffer, those who work in the sector, and millions more, will demand change in the near future. This must include bringing social care into the public sector, in a fully funded and integrated care and health system, under the democratic control of staff and service users.

Covid-19 finally breached the care home my elderly parents are in last week. I'd obviously prefer it if my part of that struggle wasn't based on tragedy. But whatever happens, I'll still be fighting for an end to this capitalist system which has blood on its hands once again.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 21 April 2020:


Frontline workers speak out

Where's our PPE? Where's our testing? Where's our money?

London bus drivers' action over safety stops front door boarding

Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands

PPE shortages: "I feel so bloody angry"

Trade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

Management tells carers PPE would 'worry' residents

Councils must demand control of supplies and reversal of austerity

More dispatches from the front: 'There are so many more patients dying'


World economy

World economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch


Workplace news

No 'back to school' until outbreak is under control and trade union agreed safety arrangements

DWP: Action on workers' safety, and protection of pay and conditions needed

JD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!

RMT: Lift the suspension of Steve Hedley

Bromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!


Lenin at 150

Lenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas to today's working-class struggles


Coronavirus news

National plan for testing needed

Capitalist press attacks Tory incompetence

Tory think tank proposes attack on pensions

Shocking increase in domestic violence killings

US private healthcare system in meltdown

Coronavirus news in brief


Workplace safety

The history of struggle to make the workplace safe


Campaigns

Excellent support for Socialist Party special appeal

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Clapping, driving, postering - for workers' rights

The role of the Socialist during the corona crisis

Policies that really protect the NHS

Coronavirus: Students' charter

Socialism the Podcast: What do our listeners think?


Readers' opinion

Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


 

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Profit:

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