Manchester Home Care service under threat

Why is the Council upsetting the elderly, the frail and the disabled? Why is the home carers service being privatised and wrecked? 

Manchester Council prides itself on its consultation processes. It values democratic procedures.  It sees itself as being the defender of those reliant on its public services.  

However,  without consultation changes are being introduced in the home care provision which are wrong in principle (privatisation) and causing fear and anxiety to  users of the service. Users are, by definition, extremely vulnerable.

As such we are not expected to fight back politically. Carers themselves are also appalled at all this. 

At the moment users are receiving an excellent service from carers employed by the council. These carers are well trained, punctual, consistent and are conscious about preserving the dignity of the users. As many of us know all too well private contracted carers are just the opposite. This is inevitable given their employers are only in it for the profit motive. In particular private contractors:  

* Are never punctual. Punctuality is vital for users to prepare themselves; 

* Change personnel frequently. The long term relationship with carers is vital for the well being of the user. There is nothing more disconcerting than for carers to be regularly pulled in and out of care;

*Are always in a hurry to get to the next “customer”. This is not surprising as the more people they see then the more the company gets paid. And referring to users as “customers” is an insult;

* There has been at least one complaint of abuse by private contractors – on the grounds they  a) were racist and homophobic b)regularly breached user confidentiality by talking about and criticising other users c)lied about the work done;

* Such complaints show how difficult it is for private contractors to be regularly monitored and held responsible. 

This privatisation is being described as a way of “empowering” users by giving them a “choice”. This is wrong. It is disempowering us by removing a much needed support service. Also it seems that we will be encouraged to manage the budget etc for our carers – whereas for many of us managing anything is a real problem. Apparently present carers will now concentrate on supporting people coming out of hospital. This is a laudable objective. However what is required is not the destruction of the present service but its expansion through employing more in-house carers. 

In spite of letters to  council officers and elected members none of us have been told

a)who has made this decision

b) the details of any new scheme

c)when it will come into operation.

It is though no-one within the council is willing to take responsibility. We are asking that, at the very least, every user is consulted about these proposals. And of course we would hope that ultimately the proposals are withdrawn. If yourself or family members required care we are sure you would not tolerate such changes. 

Register your protest about the threatened privatisation and the undemocratic and  secretive process. Email your councillor or write c/o Manchester Town Hall, Albert Sq, Manchester M1.  Otherwise (whether or not you live in Manchester) write or email the council leader, Richard Leese, on r.leese@manchester.gov.uk 

 THE WHO CARES CAMPAIGN    email: raysteve@cohen70.freeserve.co.uk



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