News features on Care Services over the last few months have been about how care is failing or how companies are handing back contracts to councils because they say they cant make enough profit with the rates paid by Councils. Most care homes are run by medium to large for-profit companies, whose main aim is to make a profit. Care costs and provision, are a problem that successive governments have ducked. Its a problem that needs to be fixed, and we need to have a proper discussion about it as members of a civilised society.
In 2014, West Somerset County Council and NHS were at crisis point in trying to find care services for their citizens at a manageable cost. so they put together budget of £75,000 to try to grow the market by encouraging micro -enterprises – that is small one or two people concerns to set up to provide personal care. They aimed to attract 50 new micro-priders. In the end 173 businesses were set up providing employment to 220 local people, and providing care services for 700 older citizens in their area, at a time and in a way that suited the people getting the care services.
Many of the local people who set up cleaning or care micro-businesses did so with help from a Community Interest company called Community Catalysts(CC). CC works across the UK to try to make sure that people who need care and support can get help in ways, times and places that suit them, from local people.
During the run-up to the General Election we should have a proper discussion with plans about how care is to be provided and paid for. The West Somerset experiment is one successful way of growing the kinds of care available, helping local people to run their own businesses, developing the local economy, and ensuring the cared-for have a service based around their needs.
Lets start talking about how to do things better in a way that is cost-effective.
[this article is an opinion piece – it is not necessarily what One Voice or Wolverhampton Advocacy Service think]