According to the Wales commissioner, caregivers receive the same pay as NHS employees

Emma Rosser

According to Wales' older people's commissioner, caregivers must be paid equally to those performing comparable work for the NHS in order to ensure social care is viable.

Helena Herklots added that in order to draw more people into the field, terms and conditions needed to improve right away.

She has urged the Welsh and British governments to make social care investments.

Welsh officials declared their commitment to "improving working conditions and making it a more attractive career.".

Friends expressed concern about Robert Lumber, 74, in November 2020 after not seeing him for a few days. When police entered his house, they discovered him to be unresponsive.

He didn't discover he had Covid or what had happened until he awoke a month later in Merthyr Tydfil's Prince Charles Hospital.

He was told by staff what had happened and that the police in the nearby town of Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, still had his house key.

Emma Rosser and Robert Lumber
After Robert Lumber's stay in the hospital, Emma Rosser assists with his care.

He moved to Troedyrhiw Care Home in Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf, after a protracted hospital stay because he was too sick to go back home.

He praised the care he receives and claimed to feel "100% better.".

He admitted, "I'd probably end up like I was before, not taking care of myself the way I should have.".

Living in the house where he enjoys the activities and games they play, he claimed, makes him feel "more contented.". It's nice having people around, he said, adding that he had no plans to leave.

Emma Rosser, one of his caregivers who has worked at the facility for more than six years, described it as rewarding but occasionally difficult.

She claimed that caregivers were underpaid compared to NHS employees and that they should receive the same compensation.

Compared to those who work in the NHS, she claimed, "we have more responsibilities.".

Advert to encourage becoming a carer on a van
Such notices encourage a career in caregiving.

They have nurses who administer their medication, whereas we administer our own, which may include controlled drugs. The administration of controlled drugs is subject to strict protocol and requires the assistance of two people.

"We provide palliative care, whereas nurses only provide it in hospitals. To be honest, it's all a little bit unfair. "   .

The commissioner for older people concurred.

Improvement couldn't wait for that to happen, she said, adding that long-term plans for a national care system and investments in social care were equally important.

"At this time, older people and unpaid caregivers are suffering, so we have to attend to the immediate," she said. "We must do everything we can to ensure that the workforce is sustained and supported.".

That, according to her, entailed higher pay.

"It's great that a real living wage is being paid, but it cannot be the case that if you work in social services and perform duties that are essentially identical to those in the health care system, you are paid less.

"We need to achieve parity as soon as possible, improve terms and conditions, and do everything in our power as a society to encourage people to pursue fantastic careers. ".

The UK government and the Welsh government both need to invest, according to Ms. Herklots.

It has become much more challenging for us in Wales to have the resources to do what needs to be done here because UK governments have failed to invest in or reform social care for at least 20 years, the official said.

Social care is essential to ensure that patients are able to leave the hospital as soon as possible as well as to support them while they wait for NHS services.

Welsh councils will spend £874m on social services for seniors in 2023–2024, 13% more than the previous year.

According to a report by Wales Fiscal Analysis, the number of elderly people with severe dementia is anticipated to rise to 53,700 by 2040, more than doubling from 2020. This will put more strain on the industry.

The majority of adult care is provided informally by friends and family, with the replacement cost estimated at £8 billion, or about equal to the annual NHS budget.

The Welsh government stated that it was committed to improving working conditions and making the care industry a more appealing career choice because of the vital role that care workers play in society.

The significant increase in the 2023–24 local government settlement demonstrates our commitment to addressing the pressures in social care, and we have invested £70 million to ensure that all social care workers continue to receive at least the real living wage.

"We are taking measures to professionalize the industry, raise the status of social care, and increase opportunities for career advancement. " .

The UK government said it had a "significant reform program" for England that involved hundreds of millions of dollars and put the workforce "at its heart." Adult social care is devolved.

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