fuel - Healthcare worker at home visit

Care workers should be well paid for doing a tough and sometimes “unpleasant” job just as miners were in past years for digging coal, a Cheshire East councillor said.

Cllr Stewart Gardiner was speaking at a Cheshire East Council meeting where it was announced the authority has been awarded £982,203 to help recruit and retain care staff during the winter months.

The council has also secured an additional £800,000 from the government so hospital patients can be discharged with care provision and £36,000 for occupational therapy assessment.

But with social care in crisis across the country, councillors said more had to be done not just to recruit care workers but keep them.

Cllr Gardiner said the government funding was “well needed money” but the tip of a very big iceberg.

He said: “I also think we need to make sure, as a council, we make representations to the Department of Health and Social Care that this is a problem that requires a much larger review and potentially a much larger pot of money to fund it, because it’s okay encouraging people to go into social care but we need to make sure that they stay there.

“And it is not an easy job by any means. I think people who go into this, on the whole, have a vocation towards it – that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be paying them appropriately because it’s an unpleasant job, on the whole, although it has pleasurable sides.

“And if you’re going to do that, you need to pay people commensurately.

“Years ago, people were paid a lot of money to go down mines to dig coal because that was a very unpleasant job, we need to be doing the same with our social workers today.”

Conservative group leader Janet Clowes (Wybunbury) said: “I’m hoping that, with using this funding, we will be able to introduce incentives to those recruitment processes that will encourage people to come in and do the job.

“But ultimately, I would like to see how we are actually encouraging them to stay and build in career pathways so that a career in the care system is actually something that is both desirable and fires the ambition of young and older people out there who are looking for a career in the area.”

Nantwich councillor Arthur Moran (Ind) said, while the extra funding was welcome, social care should be a central government responsibility and not left to local authorities.

The council authorised the executive director of adults, health and integration to spend the money in accordance with the conditions of the fund – which includes using it all by the end of March 2022.

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