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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 November 2021

Tory plans won't fix social care

photo Joe D Miles for CQC/CC

photo Joe D Miles for CQC/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Dan Smart, Bristol North Socialist Party

As huge numbers of exhausted staff quit the social care sector, "a tsunami of unmet need" is faced this winter. The Care Quality Commission's dire warning predicts that, if nothing is done, 170,000 vacancies are to be expected by the end of the year. This figure doesn't include those forced out by the mandatory vaccination policy coming into effect this month.

This will mean people being left without support at home - at risk of neglect, serious injury or worse. As a social worker, I currently have several people on my caseload who have been waiting for a care provider for months, despite being assessed as having multiple needs.

This latest crisis also has major implications for the NHS. Social care should address problems before they escalate to a person requiring hospital treatment, and enable people to be discharged safely from hospital, freeing up resources. With the unavailability of care, people will either remain in NHS beds or - as has frequently occurred during Covid - be sent home without adequate support, creating a vicious circle.

Pathetic funding

The government's knee-jerk response has been to announce a 'workforce retention and recruitment fund', amounting to a pathetic 108 per care worker. There's no clear explanation as to how this money is intended to attract new staff. And while attempting to argue that it will help retain staff, the government's main argument for creating more 'hours in the system' is to give burnt-out carers more work by paying for overtime!

Common issues across sectors that face workforce shortages are tough work, with poor conditions and low pay. The GMB union is absolutely right that care workers need a minimum of 15 an hour, an end to zero-hour contracts and proper sick pay now, or they "will continue to leave and the sector will implode". The GMB, along with other unions in the sector, must be at the forefront of fighting for the funding needed.

It is also necessary for the unions to put forward the need to take the private providers, who now constitute the vast majority of social care services, back in-house under democratic public ownership - making care provision accountable to workers, service-users and communities. We need to end the unfettered profit motive in social care that siphons out money at the expense of overworked, underpaid staff and the quality and availability of care for those who urgently need it.

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In The Socialist 3 November 2021:


COP26

Socialist change to end climate change

Fight for socialism to end climate destruction

COP26 begins - workers strike for pay

COP26 News in brief


Campaigns news

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Fund the fight for a socialist world

Sheffield students tirelessly campaigning for socialist change

Hackney children's centres: Campaigners see through council deception

East London gentrification plans exposed


News

Fight for a real wage rise for all

Local government cuts set to continue - we need councillors prepared to fight

Race to top for bankers

Fight for a 15-an-hour minimum wage and an end to youth rates

Water companies put profits before protecting our environment

Tories threaten arts students: we are prepared to fight back!

Tory Universal Credit crumbs no solution to cost of living crisis

Tory plans won't fix social care

Pay freeze lifted for civil servants - prepare now for the struggle for a decent rise


Workplace news

NEU: Strategy needed to bring members together to take national action

Oaks Park school strike spurred on by head's lies

Scunthorpe scaffs strike into fifth week

Unite leaflets supermarkets to build support for Weetabix fire and rehire strike

Plant engineers pay dispute


Fighting sexism

Sexism, safety and the profit system


International news

Sudan - mass protests and general strike against coup

Chile: International solidarity campaign to free political prisoners

Vaccine inequality - the ugly face of capitalism

Hunger strike in Calais for refugee rights

Protests against Sudan coup reach Britain


 

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