Gillian Keegan MP
Minister for Care and Mental Health
Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
Sent via email
Our Ref: 20211203JC
Friday, 03 December 2021
We are writing as Members of Parliament representing constituencies in Sheffield. We have recently been contacted by the Chair of the Sheffield Care Association about the challenges facing care homes across the city, and indeed nationwide, and we wish to bring these concerns to your attention.
We are deeply concerned by the current pressures on care homes. There is fear surrounding their sustainability beyond March 2022, when the grant funding many homes have been relying on ceases. This comes as many homes struggle to recruit staff which has left them struggling.
It is abundantly clear that these structural issues will not be alleviated without government intervention to encourage more people into the sector. The average rate of pay for a care worker is £8.91 an hour which falls below many jobs in other sectors such as retail. Hence, a better rate of pay and an improvement in conditions are vital changes which we urge you to set in motion.
As well as this, the National Care Association has recommended a series of additional measures to ease the shortage of care workers. This includes greater incentives on training and career development as well as a publicity drive to highlight the rewards of working in the care sector. We strongly encourage you to look carefully at these proposals.
We must bring about a cultural shift whereby care workers are properly valued for their vital contribution to society and end the cycle of care homes lurching from one staffing crisis to another.
Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to care homes and shone a light on the existing challenges they face. We all spent much of last year on our doorsteps clapping for carers, but still care workers are underpaid and working in unbelievably difficult circumstances. We urge you to do more across government to give care workers the recognition they deserve and work to alleviate current staffing issues as a priority.
Clive Betts MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East
Olivia Blake MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam
Paul Blomfield MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central
Gill Furniss MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
Louise Haigh MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley