If we ever needed an example of saying one thing and doing another,
Labour provided one in 2004. Despite ministerial speeches insisting
that social care is a top priority, their actions have been
detrimental to the workforce.
It’s a sorry litany. First, the local authority pension – one of
social care’s few remaining “perks”- is under attack. Industrial
action seems inevitable, but pension doubts will do little to ease
recruitment and retention problems.
Then there was health secretary John Reid’s Christmas message.
Lavishing praise on NHS staff, his message to social care workers
was hard to discern but seemed to be “Keep up the good work on,
umÉ whatever it is you do”.
And now health minister Stephen Ladyman has suggested that the
children of antisocial tenants should be removed by social workers
and placed in care, to teach their parents a lesson. Social care
professionals should not be the automatic choice to do the
government’s dirty work.
But the top award for hypocrisy must go to the Scottish parliament,
which voted against amendments to a Bill that would have given
social workers the same protection against assault that police,
fire and health staff will enjoy. Yes, the social care workforce is
a top priority, and pigs are on the wing. Happy new year everyone.