Britain Was a Pioneer in Outsourcing Services. Now, the Model Is ‘Broken.’

After years of improvements in their LTC services, the U.K. began to privatize these services several years ago and allow private equity investment in LTC programs. These privatization initiatives have created growing instability in the Unite Kingdom’s LTC system and a growing crisis in access to care and concerns about its quality.

The residents of the Millbrow Care Home were already frail with old age and illness when they started losing weight at alarming speed.

The reason: They were being neglected, an investigation revealed. For over a year, they had been deprived of food and drink for hours on end. They were not being given the medication they had been prescribed. There were outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea, and outdated food in the kitchen. No one was in charge of preventing the spread of infections, and managers rarely made an appearance.

The home in northwestern England, near Liverpool, was run by a private enterprise, Four Seasons Health Care, Britain’s second-largest provider, which in turn was owned by Terra Firma, one of the world’s largest private equity groups.

The disturbing revelations of conditions at Millbrow under Four Seasons, described in a recent government report, forced the local Halton Borough Council to rescue the home late last year. Care givers were put on the council’s payroll. Managers and nurses were added. Repairs were undertaken — even the fire alarms had not been working properly.

– The New York Times

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