The petition – Pay all employed carers the Living Wage closed on the 23 July 20189 with 1037 signatures. While, initially, I was hoping for more, I do thank all of you who decided to sign the petition and in doing so showed your support for Care Workers in the Caring Profession.
From the map you will see there has been support, virtually all over the UK, from Inverness and also Banff and Buchan in the North of Scotland, to Ashford in Kent in the South East of England, to Truro and Falmouth in Cornwall in the South West of England, the Isle of Wright (IoW) and Northern Ireland. Great that IoW created 21 signatures. The largest number of signatures being 45 in Penistone and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire.
But it was not a contest, but a way of bringing the abysmal pay of Care Workers to the attention of people within the UK, for most care workers will only be receiving between £8.21, the National Living Wage and £8.50, just below the Living Wage, that is, outside of London. But the £8.21 is only guaranteed to persons 25 and over, for person 21 years the minimum is £7.70.
Where good quality care is being provided, it is not just about providing care, for there are several responsibilities which must be undertaken. It goes without question that the care worker shows respect and dignity to the person in need of care, their property and members of their family and friends and works to ensure safeguarding is paramount. Where the care is being undertaken within the persons own home or that of their family then the usual home routine needs to be understood and adhered to.
Team working is essential, not only between the care workers attending, but the person in need of care and their family. It is not for the care worker to assume they work as they wish, but to follow all reasonable instructions in undertaking their duties.
So, when providing care there are a host of responsibilities to abide by, which may not be there in other forms of employment.
People can obtain £10.00 – £12.00 working in a Supermarket, when many of these responsibilities may not be relevant.
The low rate of pay within the care profession is a disgrace, when effectively the carer workers have a persons ‘life in their hands’.
As the petition stated, this is, in many respects down to the austerity cuts to Local Authorities and this needs remedying with immediate effect. Boris has said his Government will look at Social Care. I feel this should be immediately as this, in many respects, is more urgent than Brexit, which is itself urgent. But Social Care has been left behind for far too long.
This profession does need support for without these care workers, persons in need of care will be left without. This will lead to social and health inequalities, which will have a substantial effect on the NHS, at a time when the NHS, itself is suffering from some forms of inadequate investment.
Pay is but one area, for there are many others in need of consideration.
Some will include:
Consistent standards relating to care
Other financial considerations, being sick and maternity pay, travel expenses, etc
Care workers and persons in need of care being listened to when they see and report areas of not good care, for no one should be penalised for speaking out
And there are many others
Care workers need a professional organisation, which is something I am looking at and will be coming to you soon for your comments, consideration and maybe assistance.
Family Carers do what they can, but eventually, mainly due to advancing years and in conjunction with declining health, there comes a time when they can not provide the care to their relatives, even though they are still willing to.
Care has been underfunded for many years and austerity is but the latest cause. Even if people do get a care package this may not be enough for all their needs and therefore their quality of life suffers.
Action or actions need to be taken.
So watch this space.