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'Unprecedented pressure' on social care as hundreds leave profession every day

Posted on 21/03/2018 by

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Health and social care workers are facing "fragmented services" and "unprecedented pressure", Jeremy Hunt admitted as he set out plans for reform.

The Health and Social Care Secretary said fixing the problems in the system would take time and acknowledged there had been "stalled reform programmes" in the past.

It comes after government figures shows that on average more than 350,000 social care workers across England left the profession last year.

That's about 958 carers leaving the work force every day.

Leigh Gough, whose mother Jane is living with dementia, said that within the first few weeks her mother had as many as 36 carers, which left her upset and unsettled.

"My mum said to me why do we have to have so many carers there are far too many different people looking at my personal areas, it’s degrading – I have completely lost my dignity."

In early February a report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed the government wasn’t doing enough to support a sustainable social care workforce.

The report said the number of people working in care was not meeting the country’s growing care demands and unmet care needs are increasing.

"While many people working in care find it rewarding, there is widespread agreement that workers feel undervalued and there are limited opportunities for career progression, particularly compared with similar role sin health," said the NAO report.

"In 2016-17, around half of care workers were paid £7.50 per hour or below (the National Living Wage was £7.20 in 2016-17), equivalent to £14,625 annually.

This, along with tough working conditions and a poor image, prevents workers from joining and remaining in the sector."

The vacancy rate in 2016-17 for jobs across social care was 6.6%, which was well above the national average of 2.5%-2.7%.

Karen McLean said she quit her job when the pressure of her work became unbearable.

“The overall stress from the hours and the pressure they put on you, you’re supposed to be working a four day week and on your days off you’re constantly getting calls to go in.

“It’s just a nightmare.”

Matthew Egan from the carer’s union, Unison, told ITV News that lack of funding isthe main source of the pressure.

“It is a source of national shame, the state of our care system.

“We are turning our backs on some of the most vulnerable people in our society and we’re allowing the work force to be treated absolutely terribly and something has to change,” he said.

Speaking at the World Social Work Day conference hosted by The British Association of Social Workers, Mr Hunt said a Green Paper on the Government’s plans to the tackle the issue would be published in the summer.