EVEN THOUGH the Government’s newly-launched ‘Every Day is Different’ campaign is a sincere attempt to tackle the staffing crisis in the adult social care sector, it will only offer short-term respite unless Ministers undertake more fundamental reform.
Community carers are motivated by compassion. It is why they enter the profession. To them, the greater reward is the ability to make a difference to a frail or vulnerable individual rather than the financial recompense that they can expect.
Yet the fact that 38,000 people – out of a care workforce of 122,000 individuals in Yorkshire and the Humber – are quitting their jobs each year speaks volumes. Nearly one third of employees, it points to a wider malaise where the pleasure, and professional pride, derived from helping someone at risk is outweighed by the daily frustrations of the job.
And there is a reason for this. Not only have workloads increased because staff numbers have failed to keep up with the needs of an ageing society, but the Government is still to publish its long-overdue Green Paper on the future provision of social care.
Points that Caroline Dinenage, the Care Minister, conveniently ignored with her call to “spread the word that careers in adult social care can be rewarding, varied and worthwhile”, these omissions are actually fundamental to the success, or otherwise, of her department’s campaign.
For the benefit of Ms Dinenage, the Department of Health and Social Care, it is not just about the recruitment of sufficient staff. It is also about their retention so that every day is different – for the right reasons.