Demos has just produced a disability cuts map of all UK local authorities. Bristol City Council is rated in the worst category group of local authorities and ranks 147th out of 152 local authorities. The reason for the authorities exceptionally poor performance in this league table is its inability to protect front line services from budget cuts. The Demos verdict on Bristol:
Cuts Level: Very High
Coping Level: Very Bad
See for yourself at http://disability-cuts-map.demos.co.uk/local-authority/bristol/
Consider the profile of a private sector carer. I have much personal experience and up-to-date knowledge from indisputable sources. The private sector carer works for an employer who is in the business of caring to make a profit. This is the nub of their problem. The employer must take on the cheapest labour they can find. They must get in and out of their clients' home as quickly as to get on to the next one and the next one. The cheapest labour available at present is young women from ethnic backgrounds. The problem this causes is that many cannot communicate fully with elderly people who often have difficulty making themselves understood in normal circumstances. This lack of communication contributes highly to an inferior service.
There is a very high turnover of private sector carers. It is an arduous job and can be very upsetting for a young woman learning as she goes along (often the case). Some of the tasks call for a strong stomach and the carer leaves. The high turnover impacts severely on the client who depends heavily on continuity, the same faces turning up day after day and understanding what is being said to them.
Compare the above with the profile of a council in-house carer. Mature women in the main with an average age of 45 to 50 years. Many have been caring for the elderly for 20 to 30 years. They have a reliable back-up service, continuity of call patterns, know each and every one of their clients well, never rush their calls and always try to leave their clients feeling wanted and serene. Nothing fazes them. They have experienced just about everything that could possibly happen. They provide a vastly superior service.
The council-run service is a 24- hour, seven-days-a-week service provided by the "caring at home teams" and the all-night "out of hours" teams. The private sector cannot match this.
Now to come to Cllr Rogers' other main contention. The cost of care. What the councillor fails to disclose is that taken from the Homecare budget is a healthy slice of money to cover all other council overheads, thus pushing up the cost per hour for carers. These overheads include the salaries and expenses paid to executives and pay for councillors such as you, Cllr Roger. It also includes, of course, huge payments made to so-called "consultants" called in to advise on 'crazy' schemes thought up by the council.
The private sector is not saddled with such costs. Often they have an office and one or two admin staff. In some cases, they work nine to five and perhaps a Saturday morning. They have no overnight cover. If an emergency arises when their office is shut, for example on a Sunday evening, no one can be contacted until Monday morning. There is no comparison between the different levels of service provided.
Caring is a civic duty, Cllr Rogers, it is not about making a profit. The two are not compatible. When will you get that message? When will you get the message that you get what you pay for? The cheapest option, where care for the vulnerable is concerned, creates low standards and shoddy performance. The carers and those that need caring for have had enough of you.
Mr R Taylor
COUNCIL HAS NO SHAME SAYS HOMECARE ASSISTANT
I AM a Homecare assistant of many, many years' experience. I am feeling very depressed and let down at the prospect of losing the job I have carried out loyally, with my clients' best interests at heart, on every call I make.
When the threat of closure of Homecare originally came about carers were told to keep quiet about it. Not to tell their clients about it or the media. I wonder why? It is only now in recent weeks that the union has stepped in. The wool was being pulled over their eyes too by the council.
Now we are campaigning again, just as we did four years ago, this time with only half the workforce as the council split Homecare into two parts and created a group called "star" who do a necessary job for about six weeks with patients newly discharged from hospital setting up a care needs plan so that these patients can then be passed on to the continuing care at home council team.
But what in fact was happening was that the council deceitfully arranged for these new clients to be passed to the private sector. Their reason was to deplete the work for the care at home team.
What the council is doing is wrong. They are trying to deploy carers into jobs we don't want, for example join the "star" team where just a few vacancies still exist or work in a care home or day care centre as such jobs become available.
They are reluctant to offer redundancy. They say they haven't got the money. I love my job. I have been dedicated for years. The best years of my life. I thought I would be looking after my people and many other people with similar needs until I retired. This is what I am good at. This is what I want to do. Now I face an uncertain future due to a council that don't care a jot for the likes of me, devalue me and leave my life in tatters. They have no shame.
FROM EVENING POST AND BRISTOL 24/7 WEBSITES:
LIB DEM VOTERS VIEW. AJT77 writes: As a Liberal Democrat member I am appalled by their action on this. Homecare privatisation has been a disaster in Bath and North East Somerset with profit being put before care. I feel upset and let down by my party and salute the Labour Party and the Greens for trying to stop this.”