The quality of care and support services is dependent upon a skilled, valued and appropriately remunerated workforce. The 1.5 million people who work in social care deserve 'parity of esteem' with their NHS counterparts; to be able to work in a service that is valued and rewarded.
It is shameful that care is often seen as unskilled when it requires commitment, dedication, skill, compassion and resilience.
An overstretched workforce, with insufficient training and career opportunities means that the psychological reward of caring for people is greatly diminished. The low remuneration of care workers means that many cannot afford to live in some parts of the country or in decent quality accommodation. Suitable accommodation isn’t just an issue for people receiving services but for the social care workforce as well.
Social care needs and deserves the resources to recruit and retain a sufficient, skilled workforce. This would include:
- A long term and financially sustainable national adult social care recruitment campaign that can be delivered locally.
- Local Living Wages for those areas with full employment and where the Living Wage will not attract staff.
- We recognise the need for more training in the care workforce and would welcome further work to support mandatory training in the 'care certificate' as a basic minimum alongside registration for unit managers in both home care and residential settings – as the CQC have stated – 'well led' will typically mean 'safe'.
- Career pathways and opportunities that lead to a range of options including social work, nursing, therapies, community development, employment support, policing or other professions.
- Joint training and qualifications for those providing personal care and nursing for those of us with very complex needs.
- Parity of remuneration and esteem with NHS counterparts and recognition of the tireless work and effort of a skilled, caring and committed workforce.