October Reading Roundup

October Reading Roundup

Over the month of October we’ve seen the publication of several reports of interest, as well as news coverage of the social care crisis. Did I miss anything? Please let me know and I’ll add it!

Reports

The big report this month is of course the CQC’s annual State of Care assessment. In a year of Covid and staff shortages, in many places it makes for grim reading. Of particular interest is the section entitled The central role of adult social care, noting the pandemic “has reinforced how vital adult social care is” and the following Adult social care fragility: “Adult social care is a sector that was under pressure even before the pandemic. COVID-19 has increased this even further, threatening the financial viability of some providers and services.” They do also look ahead:

There must be a sharp focus on developing a clearly defined career pathway for social care staff – linked to training and supported by consistent investment that will enable employers to attract and retain the right people.

State of Care

AgeUK and the Homecare Association have this month published a report headed with the question: What if you need care at home and there’s no one to provide it? There are some figures described as “startling” in the report, but I suspect that to anyone actually in the social care industries as provider, client or staff they are nothing of the sort. For instance, are any of us really surprised that 90% of care workers are paid less than the real living wage and the median hourly rate of pay for a care worker in 2019/20 was just £8.50? I’m not sure I can convey to the casual reader how frustrating it is to see this sort of thing STILL having to be spelled out:

Due to the nature of homecare work, in practice pay can fall below the level of the national minimum wage . This is because workers are often unpaid for aspects of their role such as travel time between clients, training, maintenance of uniform and low pay for overnight ‘sleep in’ work. In addition, social care lacks a pay structure which rewards experience, with workers who have 5 years under their belt paid just 12p an hour than those who are entirely new…

The terms and conditions on offer in social care certainly typically fall far short of those in the NHS for people carrying out quite similar roles. Research conducted by Kornferry Hay on behalf of Community Integrated Care, estimated that many social care workers would be paid up to 39% more – an additional £7,000 – if they worked in equivalent roles in other public funded sectors.

What if you need care at home and there’s no one to provide it?

Later in the month, Homecare also published The Homecare Deficit 2021, in which the Association “calls on central government to invest properly in homecare, so we can address unmet need, reduce inequalities, extend healthy life expectancy of older and disabled people and reduce pressure on the NHS.”

More reports:

Skills for Care’s Workforce Intelligence report The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England

News and articles

5th October: Sajid Javid says health and social care ‘begins at home’ and people should turn to family before NHS (Independent)

5th October: Rate of adult social care failings identified by watchdog continues ‘relentless rise’ (Community Care)

10th October: Sajid Javid working on radical plan to merge social care with health in England (Guardian)

13th October: Care staff shortages pile pressure on NHS, say hospital managers (BBC)

13th October: Cheshire West and Chester Council to bring adult social care in-house (BBC)

14th October: ‘Stop poaching our staff’, social care leader tells NHS (Tivy-Side Advertiser)

14th October: Experienced care staff earn 6p an hour more than newcomers (Community Care)

19th October: Care England chief: Councils should use other budgets to support social care (LGC)

21st October: Multi-million pound fund to boost adult social care workforce (Gov.uk press release)

21st October: Providers report 17% vacancy rate as staff shortages ‘threaten to overwhelm the sector’ (Community Care)

22nd October Social care: Staff shortages will leave many without help (BBC)

22nd October Care staff shortage harms services for thousands, say managers (BBC)

22nd October: Gove on social care, levelling up and planning (LGC)

22nd October: CQC joins call for care staff pay boost to prevent ‘tsunami of unmet need’ (Community Care)

23rd October: Disabled people struggling to hire carers after Brexit (Guardian)

24th October: Social care crisis: Woman, 92, waited four months to be discharged (BBC)

24th October: Government plan to increase taxes to fund social care and NHS meets public support (Express)

25th October: Seven in eight commissioners paying below ‘minimum rate for home care’ (Community Care)

25th October: Homecare costs outstrip funding from councils, says report (BBC)

25th October: Home care chief calls for more funding so care workers can be paid minimum of £11.14 an hour (Homecare.co.uk)

26th October: Care home worker with 15-year career sacked for refusing Covid vaccine (Mirror)

26th October: An additional £8bn funding is needed to help the existing social care system recover (PoliticsHome)

26th October: Bristol’s social care staff shortages ‘worst they have ever been’ (Bristol Cable)

26th October: Give us more social care money or service faces cuts, Surrey council leader tells Government (Alton Herald)

27th October: Care staff shortages ‘critical’ as jab deadline looms (BBC)

27th October: Fund social care now to protect NHS, Sunak told (Independent)

27th October: Budget: Social care ‘left out in the cold’ as pleas for emergency cash from Chancellor ignored (Homecare.co.uk)

TV and Radio

Radio 4:

In Touch hosted a debate about social care services for blind and partially sighted people. Link includes the show and a transcript.

The Briefing Room asked “what do the government’s new proposals mean for social care and will they fix the problem?”

Learning

From SCIE, a video: “Liberty Protection Safeguards – Looking Forwards”

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