Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and health board funding formulas are based on low pay for staff
Increasing the pay of social care workers in the Rhondda so that they earn more than shelf stackers in discount supermarkets is vital to solve the massive recruitment crisis in the sector.
The call from Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, came after a campaign was launched to attract another 20,000 social care workers in Wales over the next 10 years.
Mr Kreft said the nub of the problem was that the funding formulas of local councils and health boards were predicated on paying low wages to staff and that had to change.
He welcomed the WeCare.Wales campaign unveiled by Social Care Wales but warned that more money needed to be found to ensure that care staff could be paid a “decent wage”.
The number of elderly people over the age of 80 is predicted to increase by 44% in Wales by 2030 and there are currently about 113,000 people in the social care sector.
The ageing population in Wales and relatively older workforce are two factors for the increasing demand for care workers in people’s own homes, workers in residential care and more nurses.
Mr Kreft said: “The elephant in the room is that you can be paid more for stacking shelves in a discount supermarket than for being a care worker this.
“We have to raise the awareness of the value of people. We have heard recently the Welsh Government have put in their economic action plan how important social care is to our economy.”
According to Mr Kreft, the issue of how to fund social care as the “challenge of the age” and a proposed social care tax was not the complete answer.
He added: “To their great credit Welsh Government has recently recognised social care as one of the four foundations of the economy, one which pumps £2.2 billion per year into the Welsh economy.
“Social care workers in Wales deserve a better deal. The deal they’ve got is not good enough to sustain the numbers that we’re going to need in the future.
“Local authorities and health boards in Wales actually predicate that more than half of the staff in a care home are on the National Living Wage.
“When you get a qualified highly-skilled care practitioner, they have to be able to sustain a standard of living commensurate with the level of responsibility they have. These are people who have been overlooked.”
Caption: Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care of Forum Wales
Ceidiog Communication for Care Forum Wales