Co-ops can safeguard care homes

Co-ops can safeguard care homes


Social Enterprise magazine

March 2004



Care home owners are being encouraged to become co-operatives in a bid to reduce the number of privately run homes that are forced to close down.


With an average of 26 beds being lost every day across the country and older patients regularly stuck in hospital due to ‘discharge delays’, Britain is experiencing a care home ‘crisis’, claims Co-operatives UK


‘Faced with a barrage of problems, including increased running costs, insufficient support from local authorities, working time regulations and a levy on care home beds to fund registration and inspection, a growing number of owners of privately run care homes feel that they have no choice but to close their businesses,’ the organisation said. ‘Meanwhile, rising fees and a shortage of places across the country mean that many older people now find it impossible to locate a suitable or affordable room in a residential care home.’


A new solution developed by its ‘Provide’ project could allow a home’s current owners to sell their business and enable it to continue as a co-operative.


David Pinion, a member of the Provide working group and former deputy chief executive of West Midlands Co-op, said: ‘In the increasingly difficult environment that exists today, new thinking is sometimes required to help reach a solution which can benefit everyone.


‘We’ve been working with local authorities concerned about the decrease in the number of private care homes. Our research shows that there is often a desire for a home to remain open, especially in rural areas. Wherever a home is based, staff are the key to its success. By taking a Co-operative approach, the new initiative gives staff the chance to continue to provide a vital service, while owners can explore another alter- native for the future of their home.’


Further information: www.cooperatives-uk,coop/provide