The canary in the coalmine

This is an extract from a blog from Ben Hall, who leads our Scotland development work. Ben and our new colleague Lesley Stevenson are working with Scotland’s Shared Lives schemes and our partner organisations to demonstrate that Shared Lives can be a viable, national alternative to models which are coming under increasing pressure in Scotland, as across the UK. Ben writes:

17,000 people who live in, or receive care from Britain’s second largest care home operator, Four Seasons, are today left in doubt about where they live, as the private equity firm Terra Firma pleads with lenders to approve a financial rescue package for it. Four Seasons was saddled with huge debts to its own owners after they bought the care provider in 2012. This £220m debt, loaned at 15%, will earn Terra Firma £660m by 2022. The financial struggles emerged today as part of the Paradise Papers leaks.

But it is the small signs, like the canary in the coalmine, that we need to listen to. Last week, Bield Housing, a high quality care provider, made the decision to withdraw from running residential care homes across Scotland, on the basis that this is no longer a viable financial business due to falling funding from local authorities.

The decision by Bield, although small by comparison, is the more profound. When a high quality provider walks away from an industry saying it is uneconomic, then our national leaders need to listen.

These two very different examples show, more clearly than ever, that we need new ways of caring in order to provide the dignity and care to our older family members.

Read the full article here.

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