Councils are putting disabled and old people up for ‘auction’ on an eBay style websites where care homes bid against each other to offer them a place.
Around a dozen local authorities are using the bidding system to list details of vulnerable people in what has been described as akin to a ‘cattle market’.
The auction style system is currently being used by Kent County Council, Devon County Council, Southend Borough Council and Birmingham City Council as well as several other and dozens more are expected to follow suit.
The Mail Online reports: The elderly and disabled are being ‘put up for auction’ by local councils on ‘eBay-style’ websites, with care firms then bidding to offer them a bed.
At least a dozen local authorities are listing vulnerable people’s details – including their age and what care and medication they need – before inviting bids from care homes in the area.
The bidding is sometimes open for only a few hours, at other times it can last for two or three days. The cheapest offer often wins.
Critics last night said the system was akin to ‘auctioning your granny’ and a ‘cattle market’, saying sensitive decisions about an elderly resident’s final years are being made by a computer programme that is only interested in costs.
It also means the patient or their family often does not see the care home, and that those running the home do not see the patient before they arrive.
One council has boasted of reducing care costs by almost a fifth using the system.
The auction-style process allows councils to circulate anonymised details of individuals to a large number of suppliers who then bid in an online auction for the contract.
As many as 100 providers can bid before the software produces a shortlist of the most favourable bids. Shortlisted bidders are then told where they are ranked in the process.