With all the excitement of the Olympics this week, I missed Undercover Boss on Monday – in which Pam Finnis, managing director of one of Britain’s biggest care home firms, HC-One, (pictured above left) went undercover in some of the homes to investigate standards of care.
The programme is typical tear-jerky Undercover Boss fare, but it gives a good idea of just how much pressure staff are under; in one scene, one elderly resident’s alarm is going off, but staff are too busy with another resident to sort it out straight away.
In another home, a member of staff explains that his basic wage is £6.08 an hour – less than bin men get paid, he says. He tells Finnis he wasn’t able to pay his phone bill that month. She is obviously deeply affected, but almost immediately points out that, because low pay is so widespread across the sector, she can’t promise HC-One will increase salaries for its care staff.
It’s a sad reminder of the state the social care profession is in, struggling to retain committed staff because providers can’t (or in some cases won’t) pay them a living wage. And it is, inevitably, the residents who suffer in the long run.
Photo is a screen grab of Channel 4′s Undercover Boss. Click on the link above to find out more.
About Kirsty McGregor
Kirsty McGregor is Community Care's workforce editor. She reports daily on social workers' pay and conditions, education, training, career progression, registration and fitness to practise. This includes issues affecting newly qualified social workers across the UK and the recent development of the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) in England. She is also responsible for producing job hunting and career progression advice.