Home > blogging for Britain > We hate to say we told you so…

We hate to say we told you so…

One of the most enjoyable aspects of our industry is the opportunity to work in myriad sectors and disciplines. It’s thanks to this that three years ago, the Breakfast team became immersed in the world of social care.

Our exposure to the challenges (for want of a better euphemism) in the world of care provision left us in no doubt that this would be one of the biggest issues facing our society going forward. You can read about it in several of our historical blog posts.

Anyhow, recently so many of the chickens in social care have come home to roost that even the most short sighted among us have realised someone’s going to have to build a new coop.

Our work in the sector was curtailed by our clients being among the first to recognise that the state was simply not allocating sufficient money to sustain care at levels which were already parlous. Effectively, they told us they didn’t want us to help them win new contracts: they couldn’t afford to fulfil them.

Subsequently, other providers have withdrawn from the sector. Carers remain hideously underpaid, undervalued and at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.

The government has acknowledged that “something must be done”, but this isn’t a party political issue. It’s a state of affairs that we, as a society, have allowed to fester over the past few decades. Our elderly and disabled – at least those without the means to provide for themselves – have been marginalised and left behind, while some families seem to have stopped caring for their own. If I hadn’t seen a carer open an old man’s fridge and discover that his nephews had stolen the food she’d bought for him the day before (from her own pocket), I wouldn’t believe it possible.

As for carers themselves, they’re victims of a market which invariably values the ability to empathise with, relate to and show compassion for their fellow humans at a fraction of its worth.

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           Sharon, one of many committed, skilled and invaluable care workers we encountered

So what to do? It seems to me that as a society, we have a decision to make: do we truly value health and social care – whether public or private – or not? The recent stand-off between Surrey County Council and the government is indicative of the tension between central and local government: who is going to risk the unpopularity that invariably accompanies asking taxpayers for more cash?

Our former clients spanned both the public and private sectors and it was clear to us that individuals with the ability to provide for themselves were going to have to do so without any help at all from the state. And the threshold at which that state help is withdrawn will be significantly lower than it used to be.

That brings us to another enjoyable aspect of advertising and marketing; that of employing creative thinking to solve seemingly intractable problems. Much in the way that an experiment in Stockholm rewarded drivers who obeyed the speed limit by using fines from speeding drivers to enter responsible drivers into a lottery, isn’t it time that government utilised our creative minds to solve seemingly impossible challenges, such as paying for social care and the NHS in a rapidly ageing population? It might save them – and us – a fortune.

Here at Breakfast, we found the opportunity to work in the broken care sector fascinating: we’d love to be part of a solution too. Creativity is one of our nation’s most valuable assets. Let’s deploy it  wisely.

 

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Categories: blogging for Britain
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