As I said on Thursday, I’m inclined to write about ‘daily prompt‘ posts the day after or later, in part due to the time difference. Anyway Thursday’s daily prompt suggested writing an op-ed’ to a news story I’ve been thinking about. I think the translation of ‘op-ed’ here would be ‘editorial comment’. I meant to write this sooner, but for various reasons I haven’t… and I’m still thinking about it… so here goes!
New spin, on an old story…
I’ve just looked up the article and realised it was published ten days ago, but for reasons that will become clear it’s still relevant. I first saw this story when @ChrisClose50 tweeted the link, with the comment. If I’ve been really clever you should see his tweet in it’s original form, below!
At first, I didn’t understand the headline at all. Apart from, it meant something bad because of Chris’ tweet. where I originally saw the story. Here’s the headline: Care homes being sold off to hedge-funds? What does that even mean? Determined to find out, I started to read.
I have to say, I still don’t know what a hedge-fund is, so why was I still interested in the story?! Said hedge-fund bought a care agency, before as it turns out, so this recent acciuision of a contract and land is nothing new. So, which care-agency does this hedge-fund own? Care UK, as it turns out. (the lot who get me up in the morning belong to ’em) NOW I’m interested.
There’s plenty to scare about this story, including that the land the current care home is situated on has been given free minus conditions. So that’s alright then, the company can be trusted just because they’re the ones with the pennies?
Here’s the rub…
Apparently not… that which haunts many a big company also haunts the big providers in the sector, and Care-UK in particular — DEBT.
six of the biggest care home owners have combined debts of almost £5bn, but the corporate veil makes thorough scrutiny of finances difficult.
Not only are they keeping worrying levels of information to themselves, the lack of transparency is also a concern… surely this means they have something to hide? Lest we forget, Care UK took over doomed ‘Southern Cross’ care homes. However, Care UK themselves are not beyond reproach… according to the article, their debt is thought to be £480m. I find this particularly worrying given the amounts they get paid to carry out contracts of care, and how little people who work in the sector get paid. Suffolk council claims to have a ‘Plan B’ should Care UK get into financial trouble.
I hope the council does get the homes they need, and I hope it all goes swimmingly. However, we may not have heard the end of this story, and am also convinced similar sell-off’s will continue in the future, unless the Government really grasps hold of situation, which at the moment, they same wholly incapable of doing.