The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

‘The reality is that warm words won’t heat people’s homes – we need action’


Social carers need a pay rise of just £1 an hour if the tide of staff leaving and potential collapse of the sector is to be avoided, leaders say.

Umbrella group the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) is calling on the Scottish Government to increase funding to allow staff to be paid £13 an hour.

It says this is needed to support current employees as well as to help recruit new staff to reduce shortages.

In April last year, the Scottish Government announced staff would get a much-needed pay boost, from the current wage of £10.90 to £12 an hour, but that will not be implemente­d until April 2024, leaving the care sector in crisis.

Now the CCPS is calling for the government to go further by increasing this to £13 an hour.

Research by Strathclyd­e University for the CCPS found an average of 52% of staff

CCPS Chief Executive Rachel Cackett.

who moved jobs last year left social care.

Almost three-quarters of organisati­ons surveyed reported a high staff turnover between 2021 and 2022.

And 73% of organisati­ons delivering social care said staff turnover had increased by 14% between 2020 and 2021.

CCPS chief executive Rachel Cackett said: “The budget for next year isn’t through the Scottish Parliament yet – there is still a few months to try to get the Government to reconsider how it is allocating funds. It really is a no-brainer to put money into this pot, because it will save so much money elsewhere.

“We think there is a bit of a last-chance-saloon for us to really push the Government to reconsider. We are putting everything we can into saying: please give us at least £13 an hour.”

Supermarke­t giants Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s currently pay customer service advisers more than social care workers, with wages starting at £11 an

Our staff at Scottish Autism repeatedly go above and beyond, delivering support to the many autistic individual­s who access our services.

They made monumental efforts during the Beast from the East storm of 2018 to ensure people continued to receive support. Then, more recently, during the pandemic our teams once hour. The lack of staff has left the sector in crisis, forcing it to cut essential services.

Cackett said dissatisfa­ction among members has been growing for a very long time.

She said: “If all we are doing is matching this year’s real living wage to next then we’re just maintainin­g the fact that we’re paying people too little.”

Dorry McLaughlin, chief executive of Scottish Autism, said it has lost staff this year to better-paid roles in local authoritie­s and elsewhere.

“The implicatio­ns for the charity are that we would not be able to deliver the services which the individual­s we support rely upon,” McLaughlin said. “We are already having to scale back some of the services we deliver.

“We are dealing with a staff team that is already putting in an heroic effort to cover all of the shifts that need to be covered, including many of our managers having to work on the floor.”

Age Scotland said a lack of adequate social-care provision meant thousands of older patients faced being stuck in hospital.

A spokesman said: “In order to tackle issues like delayed discharge, the social-care sector needs support to recruit and retain qualified care staff. Proper investment in socialcare staff could encourage more people to pursue a career in the sector and help alleviate some of the pressure points.”

Ian Cumming, CEO of Erskine Veterans Charity, believes social-care workers should be getting paid the same as NHS workers.

He said: “We must recognise that care workers, again rolled up their sleeves and stepped up to deliver.

This makes it all the more galling that, whenever Budget time rolls around, the social care workforce finds itself being left with the crumbs from the table.

As a charity, nearly 90% registered nurses and all their colleagues in social care are supporting our older or more vulnerable citizens to live well in a community environmen­t – staying out of hospital or recovering quickly from hospital.

“They are the same profession­als, caring for the same citizens, and yet they are paid differentl­y than their NHS counterpar­ts. That is not fair. Neither is it efficient.

“In short, Scottish socialcare and NHS staff, and the services they deliver, are the mutually supportive halves of a roof over our society. If you neglect one side; you weaken the other.”

Scottish Labour’s health and social care spokeswoma­n, Jackie Baillie, said: “The SNP needs to value care staff and pay them a decent wage. It is simply not right that care workers are paid less than retail staff. It is an essential service and, unless it’s funded properly, the care needed for some of our most vulnerable people will just not be there.”

Social Care Minister Maree Todd said funding had increased for social care by more than £800 million in comparison to 2021-22, and she would continue to work with partners to address the pressure they face.

She said: “The creation of the National Care Service will help to provide consistenc­y in further improved pay and conditions, access to training and developmen­t and ensuring a career in social care is attractive and rewarding – but we are beginning to make those improvemen­ts now.” of our expenditur­e is on pay. And the rates we are able to pay our frontline staff are dictated by the contracts we are awarded by local government, which, in turn, takes its lead from the Scottish Government’s decisions on funding.

Tammy Sinclair, who works at Raith Manor Care Home in Kirkcaldy, Fife, started as a carer in 2019 and is a lead care practition­er.

She said the private industry is losing staff and they can often feel undervalue­d.

She said: “The biggest thing in the industry, especially where we go into the private care industry, we’re seeing a lot of staff leaving to go to NHS or council or agency care work, as they offer an increased wage and they are able to offer things like sick pay and public holidays. These are things we do not get and we don’t have the option to have. So a lot of people seem to be leaving. I’ve never once heard of anyone leaving a care home to go to another private one – it all seems to be the NHS or the council.

“It really is a hard job. I don’t think people can appreciate sometimes how demanding it can be, both physically and mentally. Sometimes we feel we’re not as appreciate­d as the NHS or the council care homes. We’re just kind of second we don’t do enough. I’m lucky I’m with a good company that supports me and we’ve got great training opportunit­ies.

“Staff are leaving to go and find extra pay somewhere, which leaves us short-staffed. So we rely on agency workers to fill the gap and you know they are getting paid sometimes double what we’re getting paid for the exact same job. It’s dishearten­ing and can be frustratin­g at times.

Tammy says any wage increase is better than nothing, adding: “I used to never have things like credit cards but I found myself having to use them more often for things such as fuel to get to work. That seems to be a big cost that’s impacting.

“I get to the end of the month and, by the time I’ve paid the mortgage, the food bills, the kids’ stuff, I really don’t have much left. The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everybody at the moment, but when we’re trying our best to look after the most vulnerable people in society, we’re finding it hard to look after ourselves.” sector. We continuall­y hear warm words from politician­s, but the reality as we head into winter is that warm words won’t heat people’s homes.

We need action, and we need the Scottish Government to rethink its proposals on social-care pay, otherwise the crisis we are in will only get worse.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom