Social Care staff need support and recognition from key policy stakeholders
This last couple of weeks for me have been a time of reconnecting and I have had the pleasure and privilege of visiting care providers and filming some of the social care workforce in their daily life. These films are part of the Scottish Care social media campaign aimed at raising the profile of the sector and showing a wide audience all the critical and highly skilled work that happens every day in social care.
Being part of creating these films and seeing the excitement and happiness in the faces of both residents and care staff has been such a reminder of the amazing individuals who work in social care. Seeing the enjoyment they all experience in their relationships with each other brought home to me the importance of the work of social care and its place in our society.
Scottish Care are hoping that these films will be shared widely across social media and possibly even shown on television so that we can open up the social care conversation as far and wide as possible. This is so important given that as we speak work is forging ahead with the National Care Service and unfortunately there has still not been a full conversation on how these much-needed services will be properly funded in the future. This is to ensure that we are able to provide a high level of integrated social care and health services that people need and deserve to receive.
What we must ensure is that while the National Care Service is being developed, we do not lose more of the vital social care workforce that we require. The recent publication in August 2022 of the SSSC Workforce Data Report 2021 has evidenced that there are less social care workers registered in 2021 that in the previous year. This is the first time in many years that there has been a decrease in the overall headcount of the workforce. Further examination of this data shows that the majority of these workers are leaving from care home and care at home/housing support services.
When I spoke with a care worker last week, they told me “I love my job, I know it is hard work, but I just love it”. Unfortunately, staff are having to leave the social care sector as they are unable to continue paying their own bills and commitments as a result of low pay and poor terms and conditions. For care at home workers the cost of running a car for work is becoming unaffordable and in rural areas this is an even greater challenge.
Action must be taken now, today, to support these inspiring and dedicated staff members so that no further social care staff end up leaving a job they love because the barriers to remaining in social care are just too great.