Reader Letter: As 45pc of care homes rated “inadequate” we need to stand up for better care for the elderly

Picture: Thinkstock Photos

Picture: Thinkstock Photos - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two reports have been released in the last few days which confirm grave concern about the plight of older people.

Firstly, Care Quality Commission figures indicate that of the 448 care homes recently inspected, 45pc have been rated as 'inadequate' or 'requires improvement'.

These homes fail to meet adequate standards of being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

They are mainly businesses which have to make a profit to survive in a system introduced in the 1990s known as the 'purchaser/provider split'.

We are entitled to ask why commissioners are purchasing with our money services which are inadequate or requiring improvement.

The second issue is raised by the Alzheimer's Society whose research shows that only two (yes, two) per cent of people affected by dementia say homecare workers have enough dementia training, 38pc have no training at all and a huge 71pc have not received any accredited training.

It needs very little imagination to see the distress, indignity and danger caused by these dreadful circumstances. It is not the fault of the vast majority of caring staff who work in what is now called an 'industry' but of failed political doctrines.

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Specifically competition, far from driving up standards has resulted in a race to the bottom. Secondly, inspection alone, which in the case of the CQC costs around £120m every year, has failed to improve standards or avoid tragedies.

I am ashamed to be writing this as a citizen of the country with the fourth highest average personal wealth, not just of Europe, but of the world.

We are all rightly encouraged to plan for our later life. It seems we have only three reasonable options:

1) be extremely wealthy

2) avoid older age altogether

3) demand and fight for decent, publicly accountable services for all the more vulnerable people in our society.

I choose option three.

James Porter, Mill Road, Blofield Heath

Do we need to do more for the elderly? Let us know in the comments.