The Rt. Hon Steve Barclay M.P
Secretary of State for
Health & Social Care
St Margaret’s Street
OUR REF: RES 4 HEAD OFFICE
6th February 2023
THIS ASSOCIATION IN CONFERENCE ASSEMBLED URGES HIS MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT TO GRANT CARE WORKERS THE SALARY THAT REFLECTS THE WORK THAT THEY ARE DOING.
When we reach a certain age and need care who do we turn to, the family ideally, but that is not always possible or convenient, and not always conducive to a happy existence, we need care from a professional.
A Care worker currently gets paid by the visit not the hour so for a Care worker on £11 per hour who has 2 twenty-minute visits per hour earns £7.32 as she has not been paid for the travel between clients. Not much for what they might have had to do. This equates to less than the minimum wage, and awareness of this is not new to us as an association, as we put similar resolution forward to Government in 2016 and 2017.
This country is facing an unprecedented crisis in social care, years of chronic underfunding, severe workforce issues, and a fragmented system mean we cannot adequately meet the growing needs of the population, unless pay is increased in this area of need, there will always be a recruitment issue. This situation at present will no doubt be made even worse, considering we are at a time of a spiralling cost-of-living, and with numerous industries reporting problems filling vacancies as many look to seek higher wages wherever possible. NHS leaders fear that the knock-on effect of a social care sector left with only skeleton staffing will further exacerbate waiting times in the health service and drive demand for NHS services ever higher.
Details were reported in the Daily Mail as follows:
Monday 29th August 2022, the headline was reported, HOSPITALS HIT BY £5.5M-A-DAY BED BLOCKING CRISIS.
“Record bed blocking is hampering efforts to combat the emergency care crisis NHS leaders warned last night”
Ambulances are not being able to respond to emergencies why? Because the ambulances that have patients on board cannot get into A&E, why can’t they get into A&E, because there are patients in there that need transferring to a bed in the hospital. Why can’t they get a bed in the hospital, because they are full with patients that are unable to be discharged as they cannot leave hospital until the care they need is put in place whether in Care homes or their own homes. The care homes have beds but no staff, and why is there no staff because they can earn more money elsewhere. It stands to reason that not paying care workers enough is a false economy as this bed blocking crisis demonstrates. It crops up in the news time and time again, and it needs resolving urgently.
Here are some facts and figures from our own research:
The total number of posts in adult social care in England (including filled posts and staff vacancies) was 1.79m in the year June 2021 to June 2022 (this was 0.3% higher than in the previous year. The number of actual filled posts was estimated at 1.62 million and the number of vacant posts was 165,000.
Over that same period the number of vacant posts has increased (by 55,000 or 52%) which shows that the decrease in filled posts is a result of recruitment and retention difficulties rather than a decrease in demand for care staff. Care workers had benefited from the introduction of the National Living Wage: However, it has now fallen below the average pay of shop workers and cleaners.
A decade ago, the average hourly wage for a care worker was 13p more than those working in the sales and retail sector, but by last year that had plummeted and an inverse trend in wages saw social care workers paid around 21p less than those working in supermarkets.
On the 4th August 2022, The Levelling Up Committee, made up of cross-party members stated in their report “Adult Social Care needs immediate funding injection and a long-term plan. The Government urgently needs to come forward with additional funding this year to help the ravaged adult social care sector meet immediate pressures, including inflation and unmet care needs”.
Their words. The problem is well known and we all know.
We await your response on this important issue with interest.
National Association of Women’s Clubs