Dire Care Homes

Based in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, and built in 2002, Jubilee Gardens care home houses some fifty elderly residents. Until recently managed by Parkcare Homes Ltd, in late 2012 the Care Quality Commission reported that Jubilee Gardens met all their official requirements except in medicine. The report observed that:

We saw that one person had been prescribed a pain relief medicine but they had not taken this for five days because it was out of stock. We found that two medicines for another person were also out of stock.”

Sadly poor care is common within private care homes, as my grandmother came across the same very serious issue of the non-ordering of her life-sustaining medication while in a care home in Leicester just last year.

Yet while not picked up by the Care Quality Commission the problems at Jubilee Gardens extend far beyond medication. This is demonstrated by the tragic personal story recounted within the pages of The Socialist just this week – “The struggle for decent social care – a personal account”. This dark tale casts a dark light on Parkcare Homes, and the lack of public accountability in their services rendered, especially given past allegations of abuse against Parkcare (see here, here and here) .

As of this year Jubilee Gardens is being managed by Amore Care, which is owned by the Priory Group of Companies. With each of their 50 residents (customers) paying in excess of £25,000 a year someone is making a lot of money, and it most certainly is not the handful of nursing staff employed by the home, who would be lucky to make £13,000 a year even in London!

The acquisition of Jubilee Gardens by the Priory Group is particularly foreboding for residents and staff alike. And one man who epitomises the Priory Group’s thirst for profiteering is Chai Patel who acted as Priory’s CEO for the five years after they were acquired by private equity giant Doughty Hanson in 2002 for £289 million.

In fact, Patel was one of those individuals close to New Labour who personally profited from this process. He was involved in the development of the Labour government’s massive extension of the Conservatives’ Private Finance Initiative, which handed over chunks of the public sector to private capital and was awarded a CBE for “services to the development of social care policies” in 1999. He remains secretary to the pro-Labour Party think tank, the Institute for Public Policy.

“In 2011, Patel was able to form HC-One out of the bankruptcy that year of Southern Cross Healthcare (SCH), the largest care home company in the UK, with 750 homes housing 31,000 people. SCH’s CEOs and shareholders had made themselves millions using a “sale and lease-back” asset-stripping operation whereby the company’s properties were sold off and then leased back. Patel took over 249 of SCH’s former homes to make HC-One the third largest care home provider in Britain.”

As one might expect, not much has changed, and the current chairman of the Priory Group is construction big-wig Mike Jeffries, demonstrating the urgent need to renationalise all care homes. This is something that will not happen under a Labour government, as here in Leicester a Labour Council has just closed four of its old peoples homes and sold the other four.

Join the Socialist Party in helping fight for a livable humane alternative, and support the two TUSC Councillors in Leicester who are doing their best to propose an alternative to the inhumane politics of the Establishment.


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