“kick in the teeth” for frontline heroes who put their lives on the line during pandemic

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Social care providers in Wales have called low pay for carers and nurses a “national disgrace” following public sector pay rises in other areas.

According to Care Forum Wales, which represents 500 care homes and domiciliary care companies, it was a “kick in the teeth”  for the frontline heroes who put their lives on the line during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fact that they were being ignored while almost 900,000 public sector workers, including teachers and doctors, were getting above inflation pay rises was galling.

In Wales, pay rates are effectively determined by local councils who set the level of fees care homes and domiciliary care companies receive.

As a result, say Care Forum Wales, wage levels have been unfairly suppressed by the local authorities who have managed the budgets for 25 years.

Among those who hit out was Glyn Williams, owner of the Gwyddfor Care Home, in Bodedern on Anglesey.

He said: “ “It’s a national disgrace. Right from the word go our care workforce have been left in no man’s land – not just on the front line but in no man’s land.

“There was a big fanfare from the Welsh Government about social care staff getting a £500 bonus but they haven’t seen a penny yet.

“Now, they hear that they’re not deemed worthy of a pay rise like other key workers, even though they have put their own lives on the line protecting the vulnerable people they provide care for. It’s a real kick in the teeth.

“Some don’t even know if they’ve got jobs in six months’ time with the care sector having to take back all the staff who’ve been on furlough or shielding.

“A lot of care homes have taken on staff to fill those posts and we have a lot of wonderful trainees who want a career in care and we’re investing in them as best we can. What are we supposed to do with them now?

“The fact that the social care workforce isn’t getting a pay rise in the same way as the other key workers is a kick in teeth for people we should be treating as the national treasures they are.

“The authorities were shamed into publicly recognising the magnificent efforts of social care staff and they were eventually included in the clap for carers.

“That feels very hollow now. The support from the public has been absolutely amazing but it’s shameful the UK and Welsh governments don’t want to show their appreciation in a more practical way with the financial reward that these COVID heroes deserve.”

Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “The social care sector is of national strategic importance.

“As the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, says it is the invisible scaffolding that supports the NHS.

“Surely now we have got to recognise the care sector and particularly social care workers for the incredible value they provide for our communities and our society.

“Like the other key workers like teachers and police officers, social care workers deserve an above-inflation pay rise.

“We have got to make sure that working in social care is a career of the highest value.

“Most of the people in care homes in Wales are publicly funded by local authorities.

“After 25 years of local authorities managing the market, we have a very fragile sector that was in a critical state even before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

“As far as they have been concerned, it’s always been about cost rather than value.

“This is the time for social care to be put on a pedestal alongside the NHS because they are symbiotic – they cannot work without each other.

“People working in social care need to be rewarded like a proper profession instead of being treated like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree it is a ‘kick in the Teeth’ for care workers many of whom are on or just above the National Living Wage, https://www.livingwage.org.uk/what-real-living-wage, when the National Living wage would be a more realistic remuneration.

    Unfortunately, and not just in Wales, care workers and the Care Profession have been left behind in many areas, of which pay is but one.

    The UK Government, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK asvided that a ‘ring of steel’ would be placed around care homes, which was far from the truth. As people were being discharged from hospitals into care homes, without undergoing a COVID-19 test, just to relieve bed pressures in hospitals for the expected influx of COVID-19 patients. Thereby creating an area, in care homes, where COVID-19 could flourish.

    Before this Social care was already in crisis, not just in care homes, but throughout social care for adults and children in home care, respite supported living, hospices, etc.

    It is because of this I created the petition, Solve the crisis in Social Care, https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care.

    As I say, pay is just one area others being

    1. see the post on my blog, Carer Voice, where Matt Hancock has refused to pay Carers the Real Living Wage https://carervoice.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/matt-hancock-refuses-to-commit-to-paying-care-workers-the-real-living-wage/
    2. I also thank the Government for bringing back their recruitment campaign ‘Every Day is Different’, but it would be even better if they had improved the salary and other conditions as stated in the petition.
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care
    We all have reasons for reaching out and some of mine are mentioned below

    • With the Government, Social Care is the forgotten service and Yes, the Government as plenty to deal with currently, but more should have been done for Social Care well before the COVID 19 situation
    • This section of care has been devoid of enough money for far too long and austerity measures only compounded this
    • The starting salary for all care workers should be, at least the Real Living Wage and not, as currently the National Living Wage or for some under 25 years The Minimum Wage
    • The rate of pay is abysmal when compared to the responsibilities they undertake It is not just the rate of pay, but many others including
    • Conditions of Service
    • Expenses
    • Sick Pay schemes
    Lack of funding for Social Care is a major problem and this leads to
    • not only insufficient funding for all forms of Social Care
    • a lack of people wishing to come into the profession due to the abysmal rate of pay
    • partly causing a lack of quality of care being delivered in some areas and other problems
    • causing stress and exhaustion for family members providing care to their relatives, due to the lack of Social Care
    • If the crisis in Social Care is not met, this will then increase the crisis in health.

    You will never know when you maybe in need of Social Care, so please support Social Care, before it is too late

    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solve-the-crisis-in-social-care

    Thank you

    Chris

    #care #socialcare #crisis

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