"It’s time our society took the needs of vulnerable people seriously and put more resources into social care.”
Frontline care workers - who look after vulnerable people in care homes and in the community - met with senior Labour politicians at an event organised by UNISON on Saturday.
Local MP Mike Amesbury and Council Leader Rob Polhill were among those who attended the event at the Halton Stadium.
They heard directly from home care workers as they described how their care visits are scheduled side by side – forcing them to cut them short, and how service users face frequent changes in who cares for them. Residential care home workers described how staff shortages mean that residents do not get to go out, and a lack of basic equipment means that staff end up buying crockery and cutlery to bring in for residents.
Staff described how they find it very rewarding to help people, but the lack of resources and management practices in the sector mean that they struggle to provide the quality of care that they would like to. Staff also described how they are treated badly themselves, receiving low wages and no sick pay.
There was a shared view at the meeting that there is a need for change in the social care sector, through having a unionised workforce that is better able to stand up for staff and for service users, and through the council being more specific in its requirements of private care providers.
Mike Amesbury MP said:
“Care workers provide such a valuable service in our communities. They are unsung heroes – working hard for too little reward in increasingly difficult circumstances.
“Care work and care workers have been undervalued for years. We need to invest in the social care workforce and make this an attractive profession for people to go into. It’s time our society took the needs of vulnerable people seriously and put more resources into social care.”