Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1083/30655
From The Socialist newspaper, 21 April 2020
Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands
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.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
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.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
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 economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch
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
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
The history of struggle to make the workplace safe
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?
Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers
Going viral: Socialist comments and letters
The Socialist 21 April 2020 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook