Privatisation has been a major trend in social care since the 1990s, but practices such as zero hour contracts, 15 minute care slots and sub-minimum wage pay are increasing public concern.
Once the domiciliary care workforce was made up of local authority home helps who had valued, secure jobs. Now it is typified by low paid, part-time care assistants, with minimal job security and career prospects. The workforce is increasingly attracted to other sectors, such as supermarkets, for better terms and conditions. A recent review (pdf) painted a dismal picture of working conditions in the care sector.
Some three in every four of England’s 15,000 care homes are now run for profit and the proportion is rising. Des Kelly, who until recently was the director of the National Care Forum has said: “On a good day, we reckon we would be able to count 20% [non-profit] and 6% or so left in the public sector … I don’t think that represents a healthy mixed economy. What we have done very effectively over a period of about 30 years is to denationalise the care sector.”Read more >