A Royal College for Carers should be launched to professionalise the care workforce in the age of automation, a technology think tank has urged.
In a new report, Doteveryone recommends the Department of Health and Social Care should establish the college to train carers to effectively use technology on the frontline.
Used well, the think tank said technologies can assist in mundane tasks, augment the job of caring, keep people connected, support access to community and economy and improve people’s lives.
But technologies in social care will not deliver efficiency gains, cost savings, or improvements to people’s lives without the capacity or skills on the frontline to implement and support them, Doteveryone said in its report, Better Care in the Age of Automation.
“Decision makers must recognise that technology can change and improve lives, but not without human support and not without a robust care innovation strategy that accounts for it,” said programme manager Lydia Nicholas.
Doteveryone said the Royal College of Carers will require funding, and more qualified staff will mean higher pay, but this approach will save money over the long term for both individual providers and the wider health and care sector.
“More well trained and supported staff will mean greater productivity, less spend on agency staff, lower turnover, higher quality care, and more capacity to use new technologies effectively,” the report says.
The think tank said the college should offer flexible, distance and online cohort learning for carers that develops technical skills in tandem with “existing emotional intelligence and problem solving skills”.
It should also make resources available to related professions, informal carers, and individuals practicing self-care, Doteveryone said.