The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 14th April 2017

900 carers quit every day

CARE services delivered to the elderly and infirm are on the verge of collapse as the low-paid and overworked carers are leaving the job at a rate of 900 a day, and that is just in England, according to an analysis of data made by the BBC.

Mike Padgham, the chair of the UK Homecare Association, has written to the Prime Minister warning that the system is on the verge of collapse and that staff shortages mean that vulnerable people are getting inadequate levels of care.

The public sector union Unison, which represents many care workers, has produced a satirical You-Tube film, 15 minute care makeover, starring Claire Sweeney, to highlight the impossibility of giving proper care to a vulnerable pensioner in only 15 minutes — which is the time slot most carers are given to toilet, bath, dress and feed the pensioner, as well as clean and tidy their surroundings.

The Government said an extra £2 billion is being invested in the system but an ageing population means demand is increasing for adult social care services. Those who provide care to people directly in their own homes, or in nursing homes, say a growing shortage of staff means people face receiving deteriorating levels of care.

Sue Gregory, who has been a nurse in a care home in North Yorkshire for over 13 years, says staff shortages are making the job increasingly hard: “You just can’t provide a consistent level of care if you have to keep recruiting new people”, she said.

“It’s very simple, not many people want to do this kind of work, and this is a profession that relies on you getting to know the people you are looking after.”

Data gathered by the charity Skills for Care, shows that in 2015—16 there were more than 1.3 million people employed in the adult social care sector in England.

Analysing the data, BBC News has found that:

An estimated 338,520 adult social care workers left their roles in 2015—16. That is equivalent to 928 people leaving their job every day.

sixty per cent

Sixty per cent of those leaving a job left working in the adult social care sector altogether.

The average full-time front-line care worker earned £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 per year. The median average UK salary last year was around £27,600 for full-time workers.

One in every four social care workers was employed on a zero-hours contract.

There was an estimated shortage of 84,320 care workers, meaning around one in every 20 care roles remained vacant.

The figures show that social care providers are struggling to retain their staff, with the industry having a staff turnover rate of 27 per cent — nearly twice the average for other professions in the UK.

“This is not the job I’m going to be doing for the rest of my career” said 25-year-old Trudi Hewitt, who works at a care home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

“I really care about the people I look after, but I just feel that the care sector is a dead end job. It’s upsetting and disheartening when you find out that people earn more than you do in a supermarket just for stacking shelves.”

The number of people aged over 75 is expected to double by the year 2040, according to the Office for National Statistics. Those trying to provide social care services say that without radical change, there will not be enough people to care for an ageing population.

In his letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Mike Padgham, chair of the UK Homecare Association, said: “My biggest fear is that we will soon run out of capacity to provide care to those who cannot fund themselves.

“I agree wholeheartedly with Age UK’s warning that the social care system will begin to collapse this year, but I would go further and say that the system has already begun to collapse.”

Meanwhile a new report from the Office of National Statistics on suicide rates according to occupation found that care workers were the group most likely to commit suicide. Those least likely to commit suicide were company directors.