Crisis in social care – it could affect you!
Often people imagine that social care is nothing to do with them, and unless they have a loved one who uses the service they don’t give it a second thought. But have you ever thought what would you do if you or a family member were to be taken ill unexpectedly with a life limiting or debilitating condition? This could happen to anyone at any age, and if you need extra support to enable you to continue living in your own home you need to understand what the crisis in social care is.
Lack of funding and lack of vision has meant that many view social care as 15 minute sessions of personal care and perhaps making someone a sandwich. But for Zetetick tenants social care provides the support they need to live full, rewarding lives, close to friends and family, contributing to their communities. The organisation #socialcarefuture sums it up:
The cost of care
Unless you are fortunate enough to have made provision for private medical care or come from an affluent background, the reality is you may need to rely on family or friends to be able to continue living in your own home. Otherwise you will need to access social care.
Most social care that people receive in their own homes is means-tested and not free. Only medical care provided by the NHS is not means-tested and is only available for those assessed with the highest health needs. But many people don’t realise that. A recent Government poll found that 44% of people questioned believed that the NHS currently provides adult social care for everyone, and 28% thought generally that it was free. (BBC, The crisis in care: Who pays?)
Pushed to the brink
The system is being pushed to the brink by a worsening crisis in social care about which both care providers and workers have warned. The escalating staffing crisis is a direct result of care employees being undervalued and overworked for too long, and foreign workers moving back home as a result of Brexit and the pandemic. In addition, new rules mean that workers who refuse to have the Covid-19 vaccine are in the process of being dismissed from their jobs, when care providers and leaders are calling out for a change of policy. They are terrified of losing vital staff when safe workarounds exist and can be implemented.
With the ever-diminishing numbers of staff working in the care sector, in what are often emotionally and physically challenging roles and where pay is not reflective of the demands or responsibilities of each role, the prospects are alarming. As the demand for help increases, local authorities struggle with continually limited finances.
Finding sufficient people willing to take on the challenging, yet rewarding, work of looking after people in their own home, or in care homes, is a continuing problem.
The report by Skills For Care for 2019/2020 showed that there were an estimated 112,000 vacancies in the sector – over 7% of this workforce in England. Those figures do not include most of the effects of the pandemic on the sector.
Nearly a quarter of the 1.5 million people working in the sector are on zero-hours contracts (when employees are not guaranteed any working hours) and pay is often the minimum wage.
Improving the pay and skills of the workforce is vital to encourage people to consider care work as a career. Increasingly, workers are carrying out tasks that would once have been done by trained nurses.
Care in the crisis
As is best practice, Zetetick works with separate organisations who deliver the social care element of supported living.
We will continue to support the care providers we work with in every way: finding the best home to suit each tenant’s individual needs, and looking after the property side of things to an excellent standard so that they can focus on what they do best: https://zhc.org.uk/care-providers-need-zetetick-housing-for-supported-living/
We all have a duty to create a better world for everyone, and our values – the BEDROCK of all that we do – emphasise our commitment to fighting the crisis in social care.