Low Skilled Care Workers – What an Insult! A Response from Jonathan Cunningham MBE Chair of North and South Sefton Care Home Group.
Utter dismay, revulsion and despair! Year after year of neglect, yet again the social care sector is dealt the full force of a body blow with the latest announcement that the Government has categorised the social care sector as ‘low skilled’ alongside the hospitality & construction industry staff. It is evident that the pledge of The Prime Minister, Mr Johnson to ‘fix social care’ was very short lived. The recent announcement is more of a ‘mercy kill’ to finish off social care once and for all. It is disastrous for care, our vulnerable elderly and of course our amazing under recognsied care staff. Oh, we have all forgotten about that illusive Green Paper…’sorry did someone say something’?
For those who don’t work in care; social care is considered a unpleasant world of wiping bottoms, incontinence and inconvenient dementia ridden elderly waiting to die. Many may believe that they live in care institutions were abuse frequently occurs perpetrated by uncaring carers behind closed doors. The Government now announce that those who work in care are low skilled, working a job out of necessity not want, with the vast majority comprising of non-English speaking migrants. Of course the truth is a million miles away from this grotesque stereotyped image. Sadly, this image prevents many from entering this most rewarding career and policy makers in Westminster know that there are too few vote in social care. It presents as an unsexy and smelly world…until of course you suddenly find yourself desperately needing it!
I have had the pleasure of managing and caring for many gorgeous, frail, desperately vulnerable people at the end of their lives. Most are elderly; some sadly are not. I entered social care not out of choice but by circumstance; my father suddenly died and myself and my two brothers ended up inheriting a care home for learning disabilities. It was a sobering experience. Within 5 years the same home was graded OUTSTANDING by the Care Quality Commission. My background is ex-military looking after soldiers on war fighting operations so I just did what I had been taught in the Forces. Lead and inspire your amazing people and build winning teams that believe in themselves. Mission – team – self.
The recent announcement that care staff are merely low skilled is at best disrespectful and at worse dangerously ignorant of the modern world of care. Birkdale Park Nursing Home in Southport is one of the most modern and IT enabled homes in the UK. To work there staff must have a comprehensive understanding of IT systems, modern systems of care and data protection laws. All care staff carry a multitude of devices from data entry PDAs, electronic pharmacy systems and covert two way radios. A comprehensive period of induction and assessment means that many new carers do not remain as they do not have the required high standard of hard and soft skills. It is also a complex environment of overt and covert CCTV monitoring devices that complement the electronic clinical safety systems. WOW – I hear you say! This is far removed from low skilled Dickensian world of sub care imagined by many.
I therefore humbly invite The Prime Minister, Mr Johnson and The Home Secretary, Ms Patel to Birkdale Park Nursing Home in Southport to witness themselves our amazing ‘low skilled’ workers deliver out of this world care to those in most need. I consider their opinion may change. Ironically, they too may not pass our induction assessment either!
There is nothing low skilled about working in care. It’s time to recognise our amazing people!