Making money out of healthcare

"I was genuinely shocked to hear recently about the extent to which the profit-making motive has destroyed the essence of what “social care” should be about", writes Jonathan Smith


With 84% of all residential care home beds across the Country in homes owned by the private sector - some private equity companies and hedge funds, some with huge debts, many paying paltry wages - most of Boris’s extra £1.8 billion per year for “social care” will go into the pockets of these wealthy owners.

This is well-known.

However, even I, with my long professional experience of health and social care, had not realised that these companies are actively advertising individual care home rooms, not to potential residents, but to potential investors! So, for a few bob, you can buy an individual room in a care home, and take the profit that it will generate from its vulnerable and needy residents. This is nothing short of scandalous, and is happening, at this moment, in Greater Manchester.

Listening in to the recent public meeting of the Trust Board for Macclesfield Hospital - where the number of “delayed discharges” (awaiting social care services) is now at 80, compared with an expected half of that - I was reminded, once again, that ‘getting social care done’ is going to take something much quicker, more radical, and more imaginative than what the Government has come up with this week.

"This problem is not new: it was 30 years ago that, as the Director of Social Services for a Midlands authority, I found myself on the front page of the local paper being accused of killing patients because of delayed discharges from hospital, leading to cancelled operations; my Department neither had the resources, nor the capacity, to help discharge patients more quickly. Boris’s plan will do little to put right this decades-long crisis.

Jonathan Smith


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