In 2006 I wrote a thinkpiece for Compass on the state of the social care workforce. The report considered the poor standards of care provided to older people in many care homes, and the flaws apparent in recent attempts by central government to increase professionalism and skills among care home staff.
Social care is the National Health Service’s poor relation. Where the NHS is free at the point of delivery, the provision of social care is means-tested. It is used almost exclusively by society’s marginalised groups – looked-after children, older people and people with learning disabilities – for whom the need for care is not defined in medical terms. It is delivered by local authorities rather than central government, and occupies much lower prominence in the public consciousness. Where the Labour Government trumpets then umber of nurses and doctors recruited since 1997, corresponding figures on social care assistants are nowhere to be found.
Image: Etan J. Tal