The Conservative Party has been in office for nine years, but government has failed to deliver as much as a green paper on social care in that time – and the situation in the sector has been getting worse.
That was at the heart of a speech from assistant general secretary Christina McAnea to UNISON’s second social care seminar, held yesterday in central London.
It involved social care workers from across the UK, meeting to discuss the key issues affecting the sector.
Austerity has had a real impact on the sector across England, Ms McAnea observed.
The current model is fundamentally flawed and too often is driven by pressure to deliver minimum services at minimum cost, with private equity firms setting up care companies on the basis of debts and loans, squeezing money from commissioners and service users to service the debts and pay high interest rates to the parent companies.
It is estimated that, within five years, three million care workers will be needed to meet the growing demands for both home care and residential care.
Although care is a growing sector, it is seeing a high turnover: 25% of workers leave every year – rising to 40% in London.
There is also a lack of training opportunities and poor health and safety for lone workers.
Ms McAnea said that these factors are not only bad news for workers, they are terrible news for people who rely on care services.
Find out more about UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter