The trade union for care workers in Wales has blasted Powys council for announcing it will re-privatise care provision despite BUPA’s troubled tenure of local care homes. UNISON says the decision is not in the best interests of clients, their families or care workers.
The authority failed to involve the trade union in any form when appointing a new provider to take over the BUPA contract.
Shaw healthcare will run 12 care homes currently operated by BUPA, as well as Glan Irfon, jointly managed by the council and the local health board.
UNISON says the logical decision would have been to take all care services in-house to be managed directly by the council. It highlighted instances where local authorities in Wales have stepped in when a private care company has failed to guarantee quality of care for clients.
John Byrne, UNISON Powys branch secretary said,
“Powys people deserve care that is solely based on what is best for individuals and their families and the care workforce and not on generating a profit for a private company.
“When services are operated directly by the council there is democratic accountability so people have a say about the quality of the service. Councils have the power to intervene to positively shape the lives of their citizens.
“When care workers are employed by private companies their wages and employment conditions are often squeezed and they then suffer in-work poverty.
“When Powys council was considering legal action against BUPA in August 2017, UNISON warned private care companies have priorities that are out of step with a public services ethos.
“It’s sad Powys didn’t follow the example of Pembrokeshire County Council which won widespread praise for bringing care services in-house when Allied Healthcare collapsed.
“UNISON’s message to the council is to engage with staff, trades unions and users to devise an in-house care plan which places the quality of service and users at the core.”
UNISON has developed an Ethical Care Charter and a Residential Care Charter which ensure not only dignity of care for patients but fair and decent employment standards for care staff. The trade union is asking all councils in Wales to adopt the Charters.
Notes for editors
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 53 83 97