MP Paul Burstow chaired a report with support from the LGiU think-tank and home care provider Mears Group, which argues that councils’ limited resources combined with the care agencies’ poor employment practices leads to the exploitation of care workers, high staff turnover, and poor quality care. It further highlights the severity of the home care crisis, and the desperate need for an immediate course of action.
The report reveals shocking figures: 60% of home care workers are on zero-hours contracts, about 220,000 home care workers are paid less than the minimum wage, the annual staff turnover rate is over 20%, and worse, figures showing that there are up to 50 different care workers coming to a person’s home over a year. To combat this problem, the report listed some key recommendations focusing on the need to license care workers, professionalise the workforce, and create a living wage to promote higher quality care.
Author of the care worker diary, Rochelle Monte said:
"It's brilliant! After all this time it is so good to see I am not alone in my thoughts on the system. The recommendations are just as I could have wished, thank you for listening. Perhaps we can change things for the better?"
Paul Burstow commented:
"As publicly funded care continues to be squeezed, the danger is that good providers are driven out, and those providers who make a profit by exploiting workers thrive. The price of poor care is paid for by the most frail and vulnerable in our community, and by the care workers they rely on who get a raw deal.
We must make care work a career of esteem, where a living wage is paid, staff are trained, and are recognised as valued key workers who contribute a huge amount to society. This will inevitably come at a price, but the cost of doing nothing will be even greater."