Citizens UK has this week launched a campaign to improve conditions for care workers and recipients, calling for better training and an end to 15-minute visits.
The community organisers want to unite staff, service users, providers, commissioners, communities and politicians from across the UK in the campaign.
Their eventual aim is to make this a central feature of each main political party’s manifesto for the 2015 general election.
To coincide with this week’s National Children and Adults Services Conference (NCASC) and the campaign launch, Citizens UK has produced a charter of good practice for care providers and commissioners, calling for:
- Proper training on how to deal with dementia, mental health issues and moving and handling people
- Care to be provided by a small team of named primary workers, leading to better relationships between staff and service users
- At least 30 minutes for each home care visits and staff paid for travel time
- A living wage, occupational sick pay scheme and clear career pathway for care workers
At the launch event in London on Tuesday, care workers and recipients highlighted weaknesses in the current system.
One care worker said she had recently received around £17 for four days of sick leave, which she had been forced to take following an operation.
Supporters in attendance included the Alzheimer’s Society and Unison, as well as private care provider Bupa, the English Community Care Association and leaders from Islington and Camden councils.
Andrew Cannon, managing director of Bupa’s care services, said: “I’m committed to raising the quality of the care we deliver and breaking the cycle of relying on people’s good will.”
He hinted that Bupa was planning to test the theory that paying a higher wage leads to better outcomes for care recipients. But he added that, in order to achieve system-wide change, local authority commissioners must increase the fees paid to providers for care services.
In turn, Sarah Heywood, leader of Camden council, spoke of the challenges of raising fees and introducing London Living Wage agreements into adult social care contracts when local authority budgets are so squeezed.
“We need the help of other organisations to tackle this problem,” she said. “We need action from national government – and we need to work with providers.”
Care minister Norman Lamb will announce at NCASC later today that the Care Quality Commission will look into whether it should monitor the length of home care visits.