Monday 18 December 2017
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If you can keep your head . . . when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you

Most care home managers will know the feeling, but some of the good managers in Southern Cross homes (and I know there are some because I’ve met them) must be wondering where their support is going to come from.

We have a structural problem in the care home sector: at the level of government, regulators, local authorities or provider organisations, we have too many people who don’t do it (have never done it and know little of how it should be done) telling people who do do it (and do know how it should be done) what to do. And when it goes wrong - as it surely will when powerful but ignorant people are in charge - who has to clean up the mess, keep things going, and take the blame? The care home manager.

The best provider organisations enable and support care home managers to lead and take charge. They understand that the manager is the key to good care, and that the reputation of the home and of their whole organisation depends on what happens in the homes themselves.

Poor providers run roughshod over managers, put out barefaced lies on their websites, and succeed in duping the regulators and the commissioners, who don’t bother to check the place out for themselves. Health and social care commissioners pay high fees for rotten care (see Castlebeck propaganda) and below cost fees for some of the best care. CQC misleads commissioners, residents and the public into thinking that some of these abusive places are doing a good job, and then when there is overwhelming evidence to show that they are not, CQC do what they should have done in the first place and actually go and see for themselves. Lo and behold they find the place is a disgrace and then they try to claim credit for telling us what everyone else knew already!

How do we change it? We get together and stick together. We support each other as fellow professionals. We aim together for the highest standards. We share our experiences and we learn from each other. We find our voice and insist on being heard. And we never forget that our one and only purpose is to lead and provide the best possible care for our clients. The Association of Care Managers is helping members to organise local professional meetings so that members can keep their heads when all about them are losing theirs. And we do a lot else besides www.caremanagers.org.uk

John Burton
Head of The Association of Care Managers