Charity predicts care sector crisis

Care workers are surviving on
low pay and have poor training, according to a report published by the King’s
Fund.

The health policy charity’s
research reveals that two-thirds of UK care workers are paid an average of £5
per hour, and many  do not hold relevant
qualifications.

Without urgent improvements,
care and support services could face a recruitment and retention crisis as bad
as in the NHS, the report says.

Charity commissioner Julia
Unwin said, “Care and support workers are a neglected pillar of the welfare
state. Their job is to help older and disabled people to live ordinary lives,
yet they are hampered by funding constraints, inadequate training and an
undeserved low status.”

The report urges the Government
to allocate at least £700m extra to social services each year.

Sally Taber, head of
operational policy at the Independent Healthcare Association, which represents
the independent care sector, said, “We agree with the King’s Fund, but the
amount of money suggested needs to be doubled. Under-funding of the care sector
is undermining the environment in which care workers want to demonstrate their
professional attributes.”

The report recommends financial
incentives, a review of NVQs, and Department of Health action to raise the
status and image of the sector, including new titles and help with
accommodation costs.

www.kingsfund.org.uk

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