The story behind Sunday’s post.
Charlotte Vowles www.devonlive.com
Devon’s care workers should be recognised now for their vital contribution during the coronavirus pandemic by being better valued and rewarded, according to Devon County Council.
There are currently approximately 1,500 permanent care vacancies in Devon and many additional temporary vacancies due to Covid-19. And more care workers are needed to provide care to older people, disabled people or those with mental health needs.
Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services, said that unless the Government pledges more money to increase wages and improve training and development opportunities, care staff will continue to be under-valued and Devon’s capacity to sustain vital care services will be put at risk.
He’s tasking the council to help build a case, working with providers and other partners, to put to central government for more resources to better reward social care workers
Cllr Leadbetter said: “I believe care workers deserve better pay and conditions. Covid-19 has laid bare, for all to see, the vital role care workers play in safeguarding vulnerable people. It’s opened the public’s eyes, and we all owe them a huge debt.
“Social care work should be regarded as being on a par with the NHS, but it’s not. And like our NHS colleagues, care workers have never been under so much pressure.
“They are doing more than ever before, and until they are paid more, and further investment in training and development is committed, care work will always be considered the poor relation. And to me, this is unacceptable.”
His comments come after the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) called last week for the Government to invest more in social care.
They have also proposed a national minimum care wage and asked for an additional £480m in England in the short-term.
Cllr Leadbetter said this money is vital if, as expected, the social care sector is asked to work even harder to support those discharged from hospital.
“We need funding now to enable care providers to recruit extra skilled care workers during the pandemic,” he said.
“In the long term addressing social care funding is key to our recovery from Covid. Without sufficient, high-quality social care, we will not only fail those in need but fail a generation of families who will not be able to maintain their working lives. And that will affect us all economically.”