Four Seasons funding crisis: thousands of elderly care home residents face uncertainty

UK social care system failing most vulnerable

Elderly care in England is ‘unacceptable in a civilised society’

Cash-starved, demoralised and sometimes cruel: how England’s social care system fails the most vulnerable

These are just some of the recent headlines about care homes and social care in this country. Stories about the sickening treatment of older people, care home closures that could see people homeless, and a social care system in crisis.

It makes my head and my heart hurt, especially when you read the explanations for why these failures are happening. Here are just a few:

  • The Living Wage will put nursing homes at risk
  • The way nursing homes were funded and run had left them in a “permanent sense of crisis”
  • Finances have been squeezed because of cuts in the fees paid by local authorities on behalf of elderly residents
  • Care workers are being forced to cut corners to deal with a growing ageing population

It seems the media has fallen for the PR spin of care providers and haven’t questioned why the sector is actually failing. Instead they’ve blindly accepted the premise that older people are being treated inhumanely because there’s not enough money in the pot.

Why not ask providers about their business model and query why it hasn’t changed to meet the demands of their customers? Why not put pressure on those organisations that pay their CEO around 20 times more than their frontline staff, especially when those CEOs don’t seem to have a strategy for the modern world? Why not question the layers of middle management and the back office expenditure that would be better spent on improving services?

The kind of failures we’re seeing in social care would not be tolerated in any other sector. There would be shareholder revolt and journalists demanding answers.  Yet all we seem to get are more headlines talking about how it’s unacceptable that older people are being treated this way.

Come on journos do what you do best and ask the tough questions. By all means, do your undercover stories but then confront the people who are running these businesses and ask them why. Why is acceptable to continue running their business the way they’ve always done it?

We don’t accept the excuses and neither should you.

Rebecca Johnston

Evermore Brand Guardian