A UK think tank has called on the government to recognise the “heroic contribution” of the care workforce during the COVID-19 crisis.
In its ‘Care fit for carers’ report, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) cited polls showing overwhelming public support for more generous pay and entitlements for health and social care workers and called on the government to issue five guarantees to workers during the crisis.
The proposed measures include ensuring PPE supply for health and social care workers; guaranteeing accommodation for frontline workers, including expanding the offer of free hotel accommodation and grants to cover rental arrears; and ensuring workers’ mental health is safeguarded by extending priority specialist therapy for frontline staff, including the 1.3m social care workforce.
The IPPR said the government must also ensure adequate pay for everyone, including guaranteeing full salary when people fall ill, paying a one-off 10% COVID-19 bonus in 2020/21, paying everyone the Real Living Wage and giving social care workers pay parity with the NHS with salaries starting from £19,737. In addition, it must also fund a significant uplift in free childcare provision, the IPPR urged.
The demands come after a IPPR poll found that more than one in five healthcare workers were more likely to leave the profession after the crisis.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said: “If there is one thing that this dreadful pandemic has shown us it is that the social care workforce is our greatest resource. We must learn from this and train, resource and cherish the workforce accordingly.
“An important legacy of this crisis must be securing the status of social care as one on equal to the NHS. Never again must social care be the underdog. Social care must retain its rightful status which will therefore necessitate adequate resourcing, funding and status.”
Image credit: Care Sourcer.