Last night I watched part of a documentary (I fell asleep for the second part as it had been a long day) which featured ex-cabinet minister Ed Balls working a 14 hour day in the care industry as a trainee alongside an experienced carer. He started at 7am and visited 16 people in their homes, giving personal care, medication, meals and even company to people who otherwise wouldn’t see a soul all day.

The experienced carer was not a registered nurse, yet cleaned stomas and changed stoma bags and catheters, things that a nurse would do in a hospital, but it transpired he is not usually paid for all the hours he works because the care agency cannot afford to pay him the full amount he is entitled to. Ed then spoke to a similarly strapped-for-cash owner of a care home, who admitted the care industry is working on a knife edge between solvency and bankruptcy.

Etta Place said to Butch Cassidy in that 1969 film… “Why is there never any money, Butch?”

I expect private BUPA care homes rake it in hand over fist from residents able to self-fund. However, care homes feeling the pinch usually have residents who have been transferred by Social Services/ impecunious councils. Thus the reason there is no money is because Boris isn’t giving them enough.

The experienced carer was a true hero – more concerned about his patients than money and willing to work some of his hours for nothing. His day’s work was backbreaking, and even our Ed was knackered at the end of it. The patients were very needy; some were confined to bed on a permanent basis and totally dependent on carers. One question kept coming into my mind…

What will happen to these patients if Boris doesn’t put his hand in his pocket?

Just how many hours would this put-upon carer and other carers in the same situation be prepared to work for no wages before finding a better paying job? Granted the one filmed was a kind-hearted soul who worries about his patients, but he also has bills to pay and food to put on the table for his family. Apparently we were told that that the care industry will receive an injection of at least 10 billion pounds, but then in the next moment we were told that at least 7 billion pounds of that will be going to the NHS, which is similarly cash-strapped.

Another question arose… What care will there be in the future for the next generation of elderly people if councils do not receive more money?

The care industry is on its knees. The NHS is creaking at the seams. The population is increasing on a worrying scale, everyone is living longer, and more people are coming forward for treatment now that the pandemic restrictions have lifted. Perhaps it’s time for Boris to make the nation pay towards their hospital clinics and admissions? I know we all pay National Insurance, but it’s obviously not enough. When the NHS was conceived, care was supposed to be from ‘from cradle to grave’. However, back in the 1940s there weren’t as many people and they didn’t live for as long as they do now.

What do you think?