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.