CareNewsSocial Care

Social Care Staff Remain The Poor Relation Says Providers

Social Care staff remain the poor relations of the healthcare family after their colleagues got a pay boost, campaigners said today.

The social care provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) is calling for better sector funding so that staff get pay parity with the NHS.

More than 27,000 workers who do NHS work but are employed by non-NHS organisations are to get one-off payments of at least £1,600.

The ICG says it is unfair that due to under-funding of social care, staff who work in the independent sector providing care to older and vulnerable adults will not get a similar pay boost and it will make it harder to recruit into the sector.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:
“The payment to these staff is wholly deserved and we welcome the news that it is to be paid.

“But whichever way you look at it, it once again reinforces social care staff as poor relations in the healthcare sector.

“Thousands of nurses and care workers who work in social care, doing the same work, will not get the same pay increases as their counterparts doing NHS work and that isn’t right.

“It is unfair on staff doing the same job and will make it harder to recruit into social care as the disparity between our workforce and those benefiting from NHS pay continues to grow. At a time when we already have 152,000 vacancies in the social care sector, that is not going to be helpful.”

He said the Government had to better fund social care to close the disparity and tackle the workforce shortage.

“Funding for those who commission care, like local authorities and health trusts, has been squeezed beyond recognition and they, in turn, are squeezing down on the fees they pay to providers,” Mr Padgham added. “That puts huge pressure on care providers who then cannot hope to match the pay of NHS staff. Overall, the funding shortage is hitting providers hard and some are leaving the market.

“The Government has to get more funding into social care, or the situation is going to get worse and the number of people who cannot get care – currently around 1.6m – is going to double.”

He said with such hardship it was little surprise that public satisfaction with social care was falling. A British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey found that only 13% of those questioned were satisfied with social care.

Mr Padgham added: “The reason for that is probably that there is less and less of it available, because of the crisis the sector is in. It is a wake-up call to the Government that the public isn’t satisfied with social care – or with NHS services which came in at 24% satisfied – and that they must do something about it.”