UNISON today launched its campaign for a National Care Service in England, a nationally recognised institution that will bring about consistent standards of care for older and disabled people, and consistent terms and conditions for the workforce.
Most social care in England is commissioned by local government and delivered by private and independent companies. The system has been run down by a combination of huge funding cuts to councils and profit extraction by some providers. National care standards are not properly enforced and care workers often face poverty wages and exploitation.
As the largest union in the care sector, UNISON believes it is time for ”fundamental change” and is now leading the campaign for a National Care Service that:
- gives access to quality care for all those who need it;
- is focussed on providing world-class social care, not delivering profits for shareholders;
- has national pay, terms and conditions for all care workers and a proper workforce plan;
- has the long-term and adequate funding for a high-quality care service; and
- includes an emergency pay boost for all care workers, helping to end the staffing crisis.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said today: “If we needed any reminding of how the current government disregards the care sector and its workforce, we got news yesterday that they are planning to half the investment in the social care workforce which they announced in 2021.
“Social care now needs to moved to the front of the queue, not shifted to the back. It’s time for change. Social care should become part of a nationally recognised institution, as respected as the NHS. It should not be run for profit, but to provide world-class, high quality social care for those who need it.”
A key element of the campaign will be to ensure that national politicians take responsibility for this vital public service.
The first action is a survey of care workers – the frontline workers who understand the crisis and will help shape the union’s vision for the future of care.