In a survey, John Kennedy of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation noted that 78% of frontline care staff earn an average of just £6.45 an hour: “The care home sector employs hundreds of thousands of low-paid workers, mainly women,” he said. “Care workers are the lowest-paid, lowest-status workforce in the economy.”
Good care workers do a vital, socially valuable and skilled job whether they are work in a care or nursing home or visit a number of people in their own homes during a single day. We may all come to rely on them for out health and well-being at some point in our lives.Though care home staff and domiciliary care providers are doing a vital, socially valuable and skilled job these workers are amongst the lowest paid in the country with little training and few qualifications, often working in situations where there are not enough staff and not enough support. Many have to provide care in 15 minute slots and are not paid for travel time between clients. This has an impact on care quality. Well motivated, well trained and well paid staff are likely to provide better standards of care.. “The cost of low investment in our social care system,” concluded John Kennedy, “is simply pushing higher cost on to the NHS.” Frail people stay in hospital longer than necessary if there is not adequate care waiting for them at home.
- We will improve the quality and provision of care through a transformation in the pay and conditions of care workers, with an end to enforced zero hours contracts; enforcement of minimum statutory staffing levels; and an end to 15-minute care slots for domiciliary care staff, who must be paid for their journey time between clients.
- We will reverse the outsourcing of carers, taking them back into local authority provision to enable better standards, management, support and supervision.
- We will invest in the pay, conditions, training and support of care staff, with statutory requirement a national qualification.