This is unfortunately just the ‘tip of the iceberg‘ for these problems run deep in social care and have done for many years, but the neglect is not just in care homes, but throughout the care sector, However, the greatest neglect is not only this current Government, but all previous Governments for none of them have done anything to solve any of the problems in social care. Social Care has been in crisis for many years, but the extent of the crisis now is so ever great.
While there have been problems in social care due to the degree of funding, this became much worse since 2010 when the Tory Government commenced their austerity cuts on Local Authorities, (LAs), then followed by COVID and now there are still no signs of Government concerns.
Yes, Brexit did add to the problems, but only to stem the supply of european workers, who are now experiencing the same problems of other nationalities from outside Europe. The main problem is the attitude to funding LAs to provide all LA services and while LAs don’t generally now have care workers they are the authority to provides the funds to Care Providers who inturn then pay their care workers. However, the care workers receive a pittance, otherwise known as the National Living Wage, which is so contradictory, for, while being a wage, it is far from a Living Wage. This is expressly so for care workers who are nowhere near paid for the responsible work they do.
But, you will say that care workers are not taking on the responsibilities required and I agree some are not, but the majority of them are, it is just that there is a great insufficency of them. The only way to encourage more workers to come into social care is to pay them the real wage they deserve, which is in the region of £14/15 per hour. This would then ensure that the good quality care workers stay within the profession and don’t leave for much better employments with more, than likely, much less responsibilities. Also more would be willing to enter the profession and indoing so the quality of care would considerably improve.
Now, if there is poor quality care then complaints have to be made as this is the first idicator that situations are not what they should be and enable for the much needed improvements to commence and not just leave it to the CQC (Care Quality Commission) to find. The other problem is that the CQC don’t investigate complaints, when they should, but here again is the problem with funding, for in their funding there is no payment provision to do so. This is also down to the Government because they have ommited to create an organisation to conduct all the required attention of care that should be there. As per normal the Government wants work done on the cheap, but quality costs and the Government is not prepared to pay for it.
Then look at the care providers who are not delivering the care that is required, both the employers and their employees. If quality care is not being provided then those not doing so should be no longer in social care. The process of blaming the complainants should not be tolerated by anyone for people should be encouraged to complain and not discouraged.
So, it is not just the problems in Social Care that complaints should be raised about, but the total lack of care and commitment of this and all previous governments in all their dealings with social care.
I have been raising complaints on behalf of my own family for as long as I can remember and if I have encountered barriers, then I complain even more and take the complaint to the highest possible authority. As yet I have not taken any complaints to the Local Ombudsman, but have mentioned I will do if the situations are not sorted. So, far I have been satisified with the investigations that my actions have caused to take place. However, when I do complain, I don’t just make a compliants, but also offer suggestions to how improvements can be made. When I do raise my complaints I generally do so in a civil way and don’t become abusive, even though I may feel I wish to be, but that is what the systems causes. Systems should be flexible and easily changed where change is required.
But I do agree that to bring in the Ombudsman is so time consuming when it should not. Before raising to the appropraiate Ombudsman, a formal complaint needs to be made and allow 12 weeks for the organisation to deal with the complaint, but it should be formally acknowledged within 48 hours and where possible time scales for responses should be advised.
The other problem with going to the Ombudsman is that they do’t necessarily look at the rights or wrongs, but check that the due process has been followed, this again needs to be changed, for the due process could well be inappropriate and therefore be wrong. This is totally wrongand needs to change.
The other is to start a judical review, but here again there are major problems, as due to Government interventions, it is now not that easy to bring forward a Judical Review due to Government changes to obtaining Legal Aid, so finding a Solicitor to take it forward on a ‘no win, No fee’ basis is easier said than done. So for many a Judical Review is not at all possible, which again is wrong, except for the fairly rich, whoich the majority of the UK is not.
The Governments have got away with this total lack of concern for way too long and the full blame needs to be directed to where it really belongs and that is the Government.