The “Key to Care” report, published in early December by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and the home care provider Mears, predicted that the home care system in England could be close to crisis because of the extent to which front-line workers are underpaid and services under-funded. This review, headed by Paul Burstow the former Care Minister, discovered a combination of inadequate funding and poor working practices which undermines the quality of home care services and could result in putting frail vulnerable people at risk.
“This report outlines clear recommendations on what needs to change to have a professional, well-paid, well-trained and properly regulated workforce who can provide the quality of care at home that people need. It also recognises the complex nature of social care and the inter-relatedness of problems and solutions”.
Key to care: report of the Burstow Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce. London: Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) / Mears, December 2nd 2014.
Triggle, N. (2014). Home care services ‘close to crisis’. London: BBC Health News, December 1st 2014.
This relates to:
Koehler, I. (2014). Key to care: report of the Burstow Commission on the future of the home care workforce. London: Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) / Mears Group, December 2014.
Non-Compliance With Minimum Wage Regulations (Resolution Foundation)
Research by the Resolution Foundation estimates that 160,000 UK care workers may currently be paid less than the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour, and could be losing an average of £815 per year, due to not being paid when travelling between clients, when on training, or while “on call”.
Thousands of care workers ‘miss out on minimum wage’. London: BBC Health News, February 9th 2015.
Introduction of the National Living Wage
The UKHCA estimates that the introduction of the National Living Wage could require councils to pay a minimum price of £16.70 per hour for services; but the average payment received currently is around £13.66.
Triggle, N. (2015). Living Wage ‘could harm home care sector’. London: BBC Health News, July 27th 2015.
Councils warn living wage costs could top £1bn by 2020. London: BBC Health News, July 13th 2015.
Impact of Living Wage on the Care Home Sector (and Knock-on for the NHS)?
Staffing costs are said to account for 60% of the cost of care in care homes. Care home providers have written to the government warning that the National Living Wage could result in a catastrophic collapse in the ability of care homes to remain viable financially.
Living Wage will ‘damage care homes’. London: BBC Health News, August 20th 2015.
Further BBC News commentary / analysis:
Pym, H. (2015). Social care – the biggest challenge over this parliament? London: BBC Health News, August 20th 2015.
Further, partly regarding a ComRes Survey for BBC 5 Live:
Council tax rises ‘will not cover’ social care shortfall. London: BBC Health News, February 23rd 2016.
Squeeze on Fees Paid for Home Care by Councils
Only one in seven councils in the UK pays a fair price for home care for the elderly, according to the UK Homecare Association. The hourly rates paid for older people’s home care are scrutinised, across the UK regions:
Triggle, N. (2015). Home care ‘being short changed’. London: BBC Health News, March 4th 2015.