Hft, a national charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, has welcomed the news that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has written to Jeremy Hunt calling for the NHS pay deal to be extended to those working in social care. Since February 2016, Hft has run their It Doesn’t Add Up campaign, which warns of financial pressures facing the social care sector from unfunded increases in the National Living Wage. The charity believes that the RCN call for action is a welcome step, but that it will only work if local authorities are given adequate funding to meet growing wage bills.
Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Hft, commented: “The RCN is right to argue for the NHS pay deal to be extended to those working in social care. Our staff our invaluable to delivering the high quality person-centred support that enables some of the most vulnerable adults in society to live the best life possible, and we welcome any moves that will see them paid more for the important work that they do.
There is a recruitment crisis in the social care sector. Our latest Sector Pulse Check research showed that 93% of social care providers are finding it more difficult to recruit and retain staff compared to two years ago. 79% of providers say they are relying more on agency staff, compared to 45% in our 2016 survey. An increase from the National Living Wage will go some way to address these issues.
However, with local authorities being the main commissioner of services in most areas, and with many providers already on a financial knife edge, the RNC’s proposals will only work if increases in wages are matched with additional government funding for local authorities to commission social care