#SocialCareHour was set up for two reasons. The first was to try and boost the battle to ensure that all the great news about the fantastic Support Workers and providers is helped to get out into mainstream media to counteract the number of terrible stories we seem to be reading on a daily basis. The other reason was frustration – frustration that there were very few regular opportunities to chat about health and social care and to be able to exchange ideas on how we can make the industry better.
And I think it is safe to say that the industry is broken.
In the two months since #SocialCareHour started, the vast majority of tweets have been from people in the industry who know what is wrong, but don’t know how to fix it. People are frustrated that the care industry seems to be running on the strength of underpaid but passionate people who want to ensure that the elderly and the vulnerable are taken care of, even if it means that they are out of pocket or they have to do it in their own time.
Underfunding, 15 minute calls, the amount of abuse that seems to go on and issues surrounding training are always at the forefront of the discussion and some companies are starting to make a stand. We have heard from a few providers who have refused to take work from their local authority either because of a lack of decent funding or because they refuse to take on the 15 minute calls. With the news that one local authority is offering providers under £9 an hour, these brave companies who are standing up for not only their rights but also the rights of their customers are at the forefront of a revolution that surely has to come sooner rather than later if we are to avoid damaging consequences that will ultimately harm the most vulnerable in our society.
Our #SocialCareHour tweeters are desperate to see change and are working hard to make life for their staff and customers better but to a certain extent, their hands are tied. Turning down contracts affects business and at the moment, the local authority can easily go to another provider who will happily pick up the poorly paid work…but at what end cost? Is the answer to call for more brave providers to step up and refuse to take on work that forces them into making their support workers take on zero hours contracts, forces them into breaking the law and paying less than minimum wage? This is a desperate situation and at the heart of it all are some of the most vulnerable people in society, so why is it that we are allowing these circumstances in this day and age – why are we carrying on as if this is acceptable? What’s so frustrating is that we spend each #SocialCareHour going over the problems but no one seems to have the power to resolve them so in effect, we’re going round in circles.
#SocialCareHour wasn’t just set up as a tool for discussion about all the things that are wrong with the industry, it was set up to try and make a positive difference. We want to hear from all of the care providers out there who ARE making a difference, who are making a stand. If they can share their innovative ideas with others and tell us what works for them – that information can be shared and slowly but surely, we hope to start seeing tangible impact across the board.
Social care providers, commissioners and customers are all encouraged to join the conversation, which takes place on Twitter every Wednesday evening, 8 – 9 pm. Anybody wanting to take part can do so by including #SocialCareHour in each tweet they post. You can find out more by taking a look at the #SocialCareHour website http://www.socialcarehour.co.uk
#SocialCareHour was developed by Midlands based GD-PR & Media Ltd, an integrated Public Relations, Graphic Design and Video Production company, specialising in Health & Social Care.