Richard Latchman wrote at the end of his report in the Guardian of 20th May, 2011:
"These are real people, not pawns in some big business game of commercial chess."
HE SHOULD HAVE PUT IT AT THE BEGINNING because it is of paramount importance.
Mr Latchman's report was about the residential homes company Southern Cross and the fact it is in financial difficulties of a scale that is said to threaten its continued existence in business. There is another article in today's (25/05/11) Guardian Society at http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/may/25/southern-cross-care-homes-in-balance but this is just about the financial aspects - the least of the issues.
Of paramount importance are those 'real people' caught up in a disaster waiting to happen. This human catastrophe in waiting was created by Margaret Thatcher and her government in the 1980s, perpetuated and refined by the Labour governments of Blair and Brown and sanctified by Messrs Cameron and Osborne and this Tory led Coalition. I, and all those involved in residential CARE said when it started it would turn out to be an inhumane policy.
And over the years, on a relatively small scale, it has proved to be so: a few residential (and I'm using this as a global term to include nursing homes) have been quietly closed down over the years because the private owners have gone out of business and indeed, a few have been closed down because they were abusing their residents - the 'real people' who are of paramount importance. In those cases the local authorities involved quietly rehomed (horrible word!) those real people who had been terrified of the events going on around them and, remembering that moving house is at the top of the cliff of the top ten social stressors, emotionally wrenched by the subsequent enforced move.
Those of us working (as service users or as professionals) in the CARE sector will tell you that some of these real people die as a direct result of the stresses engendered by moving into residential care, let alone from being made potentially homeless by profiteers.
This is on a different scale though and although I'm in no doubt they'll try, this scandal which, IMHO, amounts to the institutional abuse of those real people by exploiting their reduced circumstances for private profit, will not be able to be managed quietly.
Southern Cross is a huge corporation that owns hundreds of residential homes throughout the UK. If they do go out of business there will be thousands of those real and vulnerable people threatened with being thrown out of the place that has become their home.
In what is supposed to be a civilised society, why are we surrounded by sociopathic institutions and the sociopathic individuals that govern them. Financial gain from human distress and ill health is EVIL.