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.