“How much is the life of our elderly worth?”

“How much is the life of our elderly worth?”

£8m care homes will close because Liverpool City Council can’t afford to pay the workers!

By Ritchie Hunter
Images: Liverpool Against the Cuts

Brushwood and Millvina House care homes didn’t make enough profit for Shaw Healthcare. Liverpool City Council can’t run them because it would mean putting staff on council pay and conditions. In other words, residents will have to go through the life-threatening trauma of a move because the council can’t pay a decent rate to care workers!

A number of points have come to light since Shaw Healthcare announced that they were pulling out of their contract with the council to run the homes:

  1. LCC were told by Shaw Healthcare in January 2020 (before Covid-19 had hit this country) that they weren’t making any profit from the homes.
  2. The contract stipulates that the council has to fill the homes thus guaranteeing the profit: The council promised to fill the beds so that Shaw could make some bread.
  3. LCC can’t sue Shaw Healthcare for breach of contract because of this guarantee.
  4. LCC say that other care providers are facing the same financial problems as Shaw Healthcare. So the homes will not be ‘economically viable’ for any private care provider.
  5. Liverpool City Council could take over the running of the homes, according to Martin Farran, Director of Adult Services. But, he said, “The issue is that council terms and conditions would apply”. So the staff would get a proper rate for the job! What’s wrong with that?
  6. Well, the council have a £23m deficit from these homes already.
  7. But, leaving them empty will only add to this debt anyway.

Shaw Healthcare is part of the Grand Cascade Group, a private equity combine established to make returns of 20-30% for their shareholders. (see: http://www.catalystmedia.org.uk/health/home-care/ ) This money comes from the public purse, and the company can just walk away and leave people to die if they don’t make enough money.

What was the council thinking of when they signed this contract? Not only did they guarantee profits for a dodgy company, they also guaranteed low wages for the staff.
There is also no trade union representation for the workers in these homes; surely a vital part of any Labour Council contract!

What should the council do now?
Everyone understands that the council are cash strapped and that the Government keep squeezing them harder, but they should:

  • TAKE OVER these homes. Because to let them close will cause suffering and possibly death.
  • PAY THE RATE! Health workers deserve decent pay and conditions whether directly employed by the council or not.
    ORGANISE! Council’s, communities and workers unite to demand all health and care services are in public hands.
  • CO-ORDINATE a public debate about how to provide decent care for our elderly and to prevent ‘sharks’ such as Shaw Healthcare from pillaging our public services.

Sources: https://liverpoolexpress.co.uk/faqs-on-brushwood-and-millvina-house-care-homes/
https://liverpoolexpress.co.uk/qa-brushwood-and-millvina-house-care-homes/

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