Times letters: Giving a straight answer to a simple question
03 September 2020
PAY PARITY FOR CARERS
Sir, the government must seize the moment and radically reform the social care sector. Covid-19 has revealed a care service that does not enjoy parity of respect with the NHS and that the challenges faced by those employed in the social care sector are not properly acknowledged.
Even though care workers are highly skilled they remain undervalued. The lack of adequate funding has created an environment in which travel time is not always reimbursed, and many care workers remain on zero hours contracts. We clapped for NHS staff and carers. Now is the time to give carers parity of respect with their counterparts in the NHS and to align pay scales to match their skills.
The government must urgently transform social care by committing itself to comprehensive workforce reform and the principle of parity with the NHS. It must also provide an immediate funding boost. If we have a second wave of Covid-19 without this reform, we fear for the consequences for the most vulnerable in society.
Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester and former health secretary; Stephen Dorrell, former health secretary; Christina McAnea, assistant general secretary, Unison; Caroline Abrahams, Care and Support Alliance; Nadra Ahmed, National Care Association; Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; Sir Norman Lamb, former health minister; Alistair Burt, former minister of state for community and social care; Phil Hope, former minister of state for care services; Paul Burstow, former minister of state for community and social care; Helen Walker, CEO, Carers UK; Helen Barnard, acting director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Edel Harris, CEO, Mencap; Clenton Farquharson, Think Local Act Personal; Julia Scott, CEO, Royal College of Occupational Therapists; Deborah Alsina, CEO, Independent Age; Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus; Dr Rhidian Hughes, CEO, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group; Chris Simpson, executive director, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust; Jon Restell, CEO, Managers in Partnership; Peter Hay, former president ADASS; Lord Kerslake, former head of the Civil Service