A report into working conditions of social care staff has called for reform within the sector, urging the Scottish Government to introduce a new watchdog and establish minimum standards.
The 18-month study was led by the chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland Henry Simmons and Lilian Macer from Unison. Findings published by the Fair Work Convention conclude that many of the over 200 thousand workers within the industry in Scotland are working “excessive hours”, suffer “unfair” working conditions and hold insecure positions due to the use of zero-hours contracts.
Dr Donald Macaskill is the CEO of Scottish Care, a representative body for independent social care services in Scotland, and he doesn’t think the findings will surprise people within the sector.
“I don’t think there’s anything in todays report that will distress people because they know it. They know that this is how much Scotland doesn’t value the job of care”
The School of Health, Nursing & Midwifery at the University of the West of Scotland in Ayr takes on many students each year who have a background of working within the social care sector.
One student, Elizabeth Bennet who has 15 years of experience in care work said that she found her passion through the work but feared that future generations could be put off from careers in the industry if conditions do not improve.
“I think maybe not going in knowing the bigger picture of what to expect in the care sector – they’re just wanting to get some experience before coming to uni – but it’ll maybe turn some people away who are wanting to do nursing.”
The Scottish Government is due to announce an action plan this Wednesday to address recruitment issues within care. They have also said that investment in social care will exceed £700 million in 2019-2020.
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