Labour Research May 2023


National Care Service needed

The UNISON health union has launched a campaign for a National Care Service in England to create consistent standards of care for older and disabled people and consistent terms and conditions for social care workers. It says the current system has been run down “by a combination of huge funding cuts to councils and profit extraction by some providers”.

National care standards are not properly enforced, and care workers often face poverty wages and exploitation, it added.

A National Care Service would give access to quality care for all who need it; focus on providing world-class social care, not delivering profits for shareholders; have national pay, terms and conditions for all care workers and a proper workforce plan; have long-term and adequate funding for a high-quality care service; and include an emergency pay boost for all care workers, helping to end the staffing crisis.

“Social care should become part of a nationally recognised institution, as respected as the NHS,” said UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea. “It should not be run for profit, but to provide world-class, high quality social care for those who need it.”

Last month, unions condemned the halving of the government’s promised £500 million investment in the social care workforce.

GMB general union national officer Natalie Grayson said: “There needs to be proper investment to stop carers leaving the sector in their droves.”