3,000 carers’ job cuts proposed at Southern Cross homes

One of our regular readers has highlighted this BBC report on the latest move to salvage the financially troubled Southern Cross business, which includes in its 300 establishments around the UK a handful of care homes for the elderly in Croydon.

As Chris Wilcox rightly points out, the BBC report seems to suggest that any jobs cut will be for those who actually do the work of day-to-day care for the residents at these homes.

As we reported last week, the business troubles of Southern Cross, which seeks to profit from the long-term care of the elderly and the sick, reflect the possible fate of several other care homes in Croydon, which Councillor Margaret Mead is seeing handed over to another company, Care UK.

Wilcox has accessed the recruitment website of Care UK, and he found jobs advertised (not necessarily in Croydon, but indicative of the company policy of driving down its costs through hiring on the cheap) with pay at the minimum wage; one manager vacancy advertised on a £16,000 salary; and another carer job offering less than £200 per week.

“Clearly,” Wilcox tells us, “these staff will be very highly trained…”

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3 Responses to 3,000 carers’ job cuts proposed at Southern Cross homes

  1. Chris Wilcox says:

    Thanks for the mention. It is a big issue. It can also be explained this way:

    Ok, you have an OAP in need of care. You give the provider £100 to do it (it costs more, but this is just an example.). This is what the provider will spend it on approximately:

    The Public Sector:
    20 quid on bills.
    80 quid on the service.

    A Charity (Charities typically have low or no debts):
    20 quid on bills.
    80 quid on the service.

    A Limited Company with a few debts:
    20 quid on bills.
    10 quid on debts.
    70 quid on the service.

    A Public Limited Company (PLC) with low debts:
    20 quid on bills.
    10 quid on debts.
    10 quid on the shareholders.
    60 quid on the service.

    A Public Limited Company with high debts (Like Southern Cross):
    20 quid on bills.
    20 quid on debts.
    10 quid on shareholders.
    50 quid on the service.

    That is in really simple terms, but do you see my point? PLCs have less money left after their regular commitments to invest in the service they provide. So can they provide as good a service as The Public Sector or a Charity? So how did Care UK get the contract? Did no Charities try?

    It’s why PLCs pay less basically.

    One for you to think about.

  2. Chris Wilcox says:

    Here’s another thought.

    From the previous example you can see that The Public Sector is one of the best for getting money to the service. Their only real rival is Teh Charities or a Limited Company with pretty much zero debts. So…

    Let’s talk about innovation. Where do the good ideas come from. Well, it varies. Sometimes it is from the Charities, sometimes the Limited Companies, sometimes The PLCs, and sometimes it’s from the Public Sector. The Public Sector at the front line is often about duty, and also a training environment ( like The NHS ). So sometimes the breakthroughs ARE in the Public Sector. As you get people fresh out of Uni and full of final projects and ideas and the like.

    What has happened in Croydon is a 100%/ Total Privatisation on a Local level. All Care Homes are now Private. So as for who can bid for contracts there is no Public Sector left. Is that not one of the sources of innovation actually wiped out? Gone…

    Not good eh? If we still had some Public Care Homes left they could compete with others for the contracts. And the best man should win. But The Public Sector now no longer exists. So that is one less source of innovation. Your eggs are now in fewer baskets.

    Hopefully said Public Workers would rally to a Charity and bid that way, but even so. That’s a lot of lost talent.

    And this is the problem facing The NHS. A 100%/ Total Privatisation on a National Level will not happen, but at the same time if an area has no Public Sector Provider it has no access to Public Sector ( NHS ) Training and Innovation. And in that area that means it has been Privatised. Just in that area, but even so. You could call it a Partial Privatisation on a National Level, but Locally it’s nowt but Private. Total/ 100% Privatised.

    It’s bad enough if you’re a local, as you will only have Private Providers. What if they’re not Charities? Will you get a proper service?

    So are Total/ 100% Privatisations a good idea in an area? I’d say no. As The Public Sector can’t compete and use its efficiency and innovation to generally improve the service. As it’s gone.

    What if The Public Sector was the best one? Genuinely the best of the bunch? They’ve all been laid off now… Can you get those staff back and get them to the right place? Or is it too late?

    Would a Partial Privatisation have been better?

  3. Chris Wilcox says:

    So how do you create a Public Sector body that can bid in the event of a decision to Privatise? So that the Public Sector can compete fair and square.

    This is theoretical, as it is already too late, but I just want to show the point that The Public Sector bidding for contracts is possible.

    With Care Homes it’s really easy. Each home will have a rating. 2 star, 3 star, 4 star, that kind of thing. They’re regularly assessed. So you keep the 4 and 5 star homes, get them to form a Consortia, and now they can bid for contracts. The Council Management Team for the homes shrinks, but some will stay on as some homes have survived the cull.

    So you have a ‘company’ that can expand if it wins new contracts, and it is still 100% Public Sector.

    All the best practice from the Public Sector is saved. And they can take over ailing homes and introduce that best practice to them. Replace bad staff, save those that were good, that kind of thing. It stops ‘jobs for life’ culture ( and the laziness it can breed ), and at the same time allows the Public Sector to keep it’s excellence and try to expand it.

    Well, that was easy then wasn’t it?

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