The care sector needs additional funds and extra staff to support its workforce and avoid a collapse of its services, council directors have said.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is calling for a further £480m in England to increase provision of care at home for older and disabled people to enable them to live independently and be kept out of hospital.
It wants to see a major overhaul of pay and conditions for workers and is calling for a national care wage of at least £10.90 per hour, investment in training and creation of career paths to put the sector’s work on a par with that of the NHS.
The association is also seeking an extra direct payment of £50 a week for family carers to allow them to pay for respite breaks.
‘We need funding, now, to enable care providers to recruit extra skilled pairs of hands and we are asking anyone who has done care work in the past to think very seriously about returning to help us get through this. Every single person who steps forward will be making a huge contribution,’ said James Bullion, ADASS president.
‘Family carers are playing a vital part in our national struggle against this deadly virus. If we fail to back them up, we will pay a high price when those they support fall back on the health and care services,’ he added.
The plea comes as staff absence rates increase among care providers. Some services are reporting absences of more than 50% caused by a combination of a Covid-19 positive case being picked up by PCR testing, self-isolation following contact tracing, shielding and childcare responsibilities.
In July, MPs launched an inquiry to examine workforce burnout across the NHS and social care, looking into increased pressures brought by Covid-19 and the resilience of services to cope with high levels of staff stress.
Speaking during LaingBuisson’s workforce webinar in April, consultant Suhail Mirza, said Covid-19 was already having a ‘significant impact’ in both health and social care.
He said: ‘We need to be truly aware of what this might do to current workers and how we are going to cope, and help them cope, with the trauma that in many cases they are suffering…’