Saturday, 27 October 2012

Private sector (again) fails elderly and vulnerable: Is it a result of "political correctness" gone mad?

There have been two examples over recent days of how privatised care services can have disastrous consequences for some of the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the elderly and disabled.

In Wellingborough the elderly care provider Harmony Care (sic) has gone into administration; a clear example of "market failure" - where the local public sector/state will probably end up picking up the pieces for the provision of care for its residents. Even if another private sector provider takes over, it is likely to result in attempts to cut costs by reducing the quality of care, in order to ensure that it returns to "profitability" for its new owners.

The second example comes from Bristol where the Panorama exposure of gross human rights abuses in a care home resulted in criminal convictions for some of the people who worked there. But who has got off scot free? - the owners of the care home of course, who should be the ones getting the lion share of the blame for the culture that was allowed to develop and the failure of management. This is what the owners were responsible for but failed to do anything about (but, of course, they probably gained significant profits from running it and really care little about how they were produced).

Wellingborough Herald & Post 25-10-12

What a condemnation of the kind of society we are living in and creating more of: where public services are denigrated, cut, closed or privatised and the private sector praised, promoted and expanded; but when the private sector fails (as it has and always will do) there is little recognition of its effects. Isn't this  "political correctness gone mad": where the right wing ideology promoting the dominance of free/private markets into all areas of society is promoted and extolled, against all the evidence of it systemic failure in reality (particularly in meeting social needs of the poorest and most vulnerable). Public services may not be perfect, but there is some (there should be much more!) democratic accountability and scrutiny of what it does; and the people who work in the public sector are overwhelmingly committed to, and motivated by, serving their clients and the public - not creating profits for private owners.


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