Homecare Association calls for greater recognition of sector

October 20, 2021

The Homecare Association has called on the Government to address the issues facing the social care sector and said the Homecare sector needs ‘more recognition than rationing.’

New research from the Homecare Association, published in conjunction with YouGov, suggests that 91% of MPs and 85% of the general public agreed that care workers make a positive difference to the people that they support.

However, with homecare still facing the worst recruitment shortage in living memory, the Homecare Association has said the Government still has a long way to go to address the issues which face the sector.

The Homecare Association's YouGov survey suggests that 73% of MPs agreed that Government funding to train the social care workforce is as important as funding to train NHS staff. Yet, the £500m over three years allocated to support the 1.5 million members of the social care workforce works out at little over £100 per worker per year, with minimal prospect of a pay rise for higher qualification levels due to chronically low fee rates from public sector commissioners.

In a survey of 843 Homecare Association members in August, 89% of providers said demand for their services had increased or significantly increased over the previous two months.

Now according to the latest research, 65% of homecare providers are saying that more care workers are leaving their jobs than before the pandemic. 95% are saying that recruitment is harder than before the pandemic, with 78% saying it is the hardest it has ever been.

The Homecare Association continues to call on the Government to:

  • Fund social care adequately so that homecare workers are paid fairly for the skilled roles they perform, and at least on a par with equivalent public sector roles.
  • End the practice of councils and the NHS of purchasing homecare “by-the-minute”, alternatively focusing on achieving the outcomes people want.
  • Support development of an expert-led workforce strategy for social care and a 10-year workforce plan, aligned with the NHS People Plan.
  • Consider adding care workers to the Shortage Occupation List.
  • Create a professional register for care workers in England, covering all paid social care workers in both regulated and unregulated care services. Registration of care workers needs to be adequately funded and carefully implemented.

Dr Jane Townson, CEO of the Homecare Assocation, said, ‘This new research overwhelmingly shows that MPs and the general public appreciate the extraordinary lengths the social care workforce go to for their clients.

‘It is disappointing therefore that isn't reflected in Government policy. The Health and Social Care Levy barely scratches the surface for supporting the homecare workforce and will not help in the 'levelling up' that our PM and Government aspire to implement.

‘The Spending Review is a pivotal opportunity to support the homecare workforce. Homecare helps to enhance wellbeing, increase healthy life expectancy, reduce pressure on the NHS and save money for the health and care system.’

Visit the Homecare Association website to read more opinions and comments.

In other news, Hallmark Foundation published ‘Care 2030’ this week  ̶  a vision paper outlining priorities for care.

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