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Privatisation is hurting the social care workforce – Peter Beresford

| 22 Jun 2016

Privatisation has been a major trend in social care since the 1990s, but practices such as zero hour contracts, 15 minute care slots and sub-minimum wage pay are increasing public concern.

Once the domiciliary care workforce was made up of local authority home helps who had valued, secure jobs. Now it is typified by low paid, part-time care assistants, with minimal job security and career prospects. The workforce is increasingly attracted to other sectors, such as supermarkets, for better terms and conditions. A recent review (pdf) painted a dismal picture of working conditions in the care sector.

Some three in every four of England’s 15,000 care homes are now run for profit and the proportion is rising. Des Kelly, who until recently was the director of the National Care Forum has said: “On a good day, we reckon we would be able to count 20% [non-profit] and 6% or so left in the public sector … I don’t think that represents a healthy mixed economy. What we have done very effectively over a period of about 30 years is to denationalise the care sector.”

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EU Referendum: Will the health and social care sector be better off under Brexit?

| 10 Jun 2016

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced a referendum to be held on 23 June on whether Britain should remain in the European Union (EU). Whether the nation decides to stay in the EU will potentially have a profound effect on our health and social care sectors and its staff.

There are 10 million disabled people in the UK getting some kind of care and support. Nearly half a million older people and people with disabilities live in care homes and around the same number are cared for in their own homes. King’s College London’s Social Care Workforce Research Unit estimates that a fifth of the 1.5m care workers in the UK are foreign with the figure rising to a half in some cities.

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