29
Mar

Radfield Responds to BBC's Panorama Documentary: Britains Home Care Crisis

Hannah MacKechnie Read 500 times

Following the BBC Panorama documentary on Monday 20th March, investigating the ‘Home Care’ crisis we have in Britain, Radfield Home Care talks about its experiences of operating in the adult social care sector and describes how as a business they have overcome the many challenges faced by providers today.

Firstly, The BBC deserves to be congratulated for producing the Panorama episode last night that highlighted the crisis in the Social Care sector in the UK. It was exceptionally well researched and accurate throughout. It stated that there is a national shortage of carers in the UK & providers are not able to recruit enough staff to support the growing ageing population in Britain. The documentary went on to describe that there are over 800,000 home care workers in the UK the majority of which are on zero hour contracts, working long hours visiting between 10 and 11 clients per day.

A Growing Concern

Sadly, the story was all too familiar to those operating within the care sector. Indeed, these issues have been raised by ourselves and  by most other Care Providers, by the CQC (the Care Regulator) and UKHCA (the industry “think tank”) for close on 10 years now.

Panorama also stated that there are now 2,500 home care providers in the UK, 69 of which have ceased trading in the last 3 months. However, the crisis is nothing new. It has been “brewing” behind the scenes for a generation, as our population gets older and older. Yet whilst people are living for longer, their quality of life in their senior years is getting progressively worse. People who have paid their taxes and National Insurance for 50 years are now finding that the State is letting them down at the time when they need help the most.

A British Care Recruitment Crisis

This is not a case of care providers seeking to profit from these circumstances. The UKHCA found that dozens of care providers are going bankrupt and closing their businesses every month in the UK, simply because they cannot make ends meet. Local Authorities pay many home care companies to deliver care to the most vulnerable and needy people in society, and yet the rates that they pay leave providers unable in many cases to meet their 'statutory duties'. Carers must be paid at least the National Living Wage of course, but their travel expenses, holiday pay, pension contributions, national insurance, sick pay, and training costs also must be met out of this.

Local authorities are under immense pressure to meet the increasing needs of the growing aging population, and to place care packages with home care providers under tight budgets and deadlines. Almost every Local Authority in the UK has experienced Providers simply “giving back” Council Contracts, as the terms they are expected to work to make the business no longer viable. Low Pay means that Care Providers are just unable to compete with Coffee Shops, Supermarkets and Call Centres for recruiting carers and staff retention continues to suffer.

What is Bed Blocking?

Local authorities point to cuts in central government funding for social care as the main cause of this crisis but the ones who suffer are the people who can't obtain the care that they need to keep living independently and safely at home. In addition, people who are admitted to hospital for treatment often end up “bed blocking” for weeks and months – not because they are too unwell to come home, but because there are simply not enough carers to look after them.  

An Insider Perspective

Dr Hannah MacKechnie, Radfield owner & director comments, “We have never allowed our business to be dictated to by local authorities on the quality of care we provide.

We charge competitive rates to our clients, delivering a high quality, person centred care service.  The focus of our care is about building relationships with our clients & delivering a high level of consistent care. 


"Our approach, all be it a small contribution to relieve the crisis, is to provide a platform of opportunity for our carers, empowering and trusting them to care for our clients as they would for a loved family member. We continually provide & support career opportunities within the company.  We are extremely proud to have a community of Registered Managers who joined Radfield as carers and progressed within the company to run their own branches.”


 

Radfield Home Care now employs over 150 carers, and is expanding its branch network UK wide through franchising. With staff retention levels increasing from 60% in 2014 to 90% last year, this is well above the UK adult social care industry average, which has been stated to be as low as 25%.

Let us not forget...

Many domiciliary care companies around the country are doing fantastic work day in and day out supporting their clients and their care staff, however as a society we owe it to the more vulnerable members of our communities to find a better, more sustainable solution to look after our citizens wherever they live and whatever their situation. Whilst the additional £2 billion of funding pledged in the recent Spring Budget over the next 3 years for social care is a start – that is all it is – a start.

Let us not be a society where Local Authorities and Central Government look at each other for the answers to these problems. Let us not be a society that sleepwalks into each Financial Year saying that less and less money is available to pay for absolutely essential care for people. Let us not be a society that leaves the Elderly with the absolute bare minimum to cope with in their last years. Let us not be a society that shrugs its’ shoulders and says that there is nothing that can be done.