United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), the professional organisation for domiciliary care providers, today (4 March 2015) releases the national and regional picture of under-funding of homecare services for older people across the United Kingdom, using data obtained under freedom of information legislation (note 1).
The report exposes the level of risk that councils in Great Britain (and health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland) place on a system intended to support older people. Continued constraints on local government funding can only exacerbate an already critical situation.
Just 28 councils (of the 203 authorities where an average price could be established) paid their independent and voluntary sector homecare providers fees at or above UKHCA’s minimum price for homecare of £15.74 per hour (note 2).
The average price for an hour for homecare for older people in a sample week was:
* United Kingdom: £13.66 per hour
* England: £13.77 per hour
* Wales: £14.28 per hour
* Scotland: £13.68 per hour
* Northern Ireland: £11.35 per hour
‘Heat maps’ in the report provide graphical illustration of prices paid by individual councils across the UK’s regions (note 3). The findings highlight the exceptionally low rates paid in Northern Ireland; a north-south divide across England; and the impact of dominant purchasing power of councils in Greater London (note 4).
UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:
“Low prices paid for homecare services carry a number of risks, including poor terms and conditions for the workforce, insufficient resources to organise the service and insufficient training for the complex work that supports the increasingly frail and disabled individuals who qualify for state-funded support.
“Unless this underfunding is addressed, the independent and voluntary sector will continue to struggle to recruit and retain careworkers with the right disposition, training and qualifications. Ultimately, the care market will become commercially unsustainable for the providers who deliver most of the homecare purchased by the state within the UK.”
Saniflo supports National Apprentice Competition
As one of the leading brands in the plumbing sector Saniflo has a long history of supporting plumbing students. From working with colleges throughout the UK to providing on-line training modules on its website, the company is committed to investing in the plumbers of the future.
This year Saniflo is supporting the National Apprentice of the Year competition run by SNG Publishing, publishers of the HIP! and Sparks magazines and handbooks for Plumbing students. The competition has been running since 2009 and was conceived to offer students the opportunity to be recognised for their skills and hard work.
This year the event is the biggest yet, with more participants than ever before. There are 6 regional heats taking place throughout the country with entries from 84 colleges – which provide a great platform for lecturers, employers, industry leaders and manufacturers to come together and support the next generation of the industry. The final takes place in April and features the winners from each regional heat pitting their skills against their peers.
The practical plumbing assignments this year were developed by Tony Kite of CIPHE to meet Level 2 of the plumbing syllabus. They feature the installation of a popular Saniflo unit, which enables the apprentices to demonstrate their understanding of alternative plumbing solutions.
As the originator of macerator pumps, Saniflo was delighted to get behind the initiative. John Jarmulowicz is Technical Manager and lent his support to the development of the assignment;
“This is the first time the practical tests have included the fitting of a macerator pump, so we were naturally inclined to lend our support. As a Product Sponsor for the Competition, we have donated all the Saniflo products to be used in the tests – and we’re very pleased that these will go on and be used as teaching resources afterwards. Our technical team has been busy creating presentations and material to help plumbing lecturers which include real life case studies and we believe this will reinforce just how useful our products are in situations where gravity drainage is inaccessible.”
The first heats of the competition took place at the impressive Burnley College, which is located inside the University of Central Lancashire. Each student was given a set time to undertake a highly realistic domestic installation which was marked against strict criteria by 5 judges from the plumbing industry.
The level of plumbing abilities of all the apprentices proved to be most impressive but Tanagon Ashworth of Accrington College emerged as the overall winner of the North West heats for the second year on the trot. He was pleasantly surprised at the task;
“It was definitely something very different this year and none of us expected to install a Saniflo, but it was a really good addition to the assignment. I’ve seen my employer install these units but I would now feel confident about doing it myself and I can really appreciate the benefits of a Saniflo now when an installation is remote from the mains drains. It’s a really good solution and I’m particularly impressed that the pipework is so small. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the finals bring in April.”