Home care industry review is welcomed

Home care industry review is welcomed

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An organisation that represents Shropshire care providers has welcomed a review that claims the home care system in England is close to crisis because of the way workers are exploited.

The investigation by former Care Minister Paul Burstow found a combination of inadequate funding and poor working practices was putting people at risk.

Debbie Price, Chief Officer of SPIC
Debbie Price, Chief Officer of SPIC

Debbie Price, Chief Officer of Shropshire Partners in Care, which lobbies on behalf of more than 200 independent nursing, residential and domiciliary care companies in the county, said the review highlighted concerns that all domiciliary providers share.

“The findings of the review do not come as a surprise to anyone associated with providing home care,” she said.

“There are thousands of people in Shropshire who are working extremely hard and with amazing care and dedication, but they are battling to do that within a system, which does not adequately value their efforts or recognise the genuine needs of the people they care for.”

The report said zero-hours contracts and low pay was harming home care delivered to around 500,000 older and disabled people who need help with daily tasks such as washing and dressing.

It found about 60% of care workers were employed on zero-hours contracts, while many staff were effectively not being paid the minimum wage because they are not paid while for time spent travelling between clients.

The industry also has an alarming high turnover of staff with more than a fifth leaving their jobs – twice the national average.

Debbie added: “You can’t employ, train and continue building the skills of staff on a shoestring and its very rare that you can provide meaningful care visits in 15 minute time slots, which is what is often expected under the current system.”

SPIC is urging all local authorities that commission care to carefully consider the effects on those being cared for at home if cost is put before quality.