We would really appreciate your help with trying to get the Government to do something about the current care shortage which is reaching crisis point. You may have seen PA Pool Founder, Katy Etherington, in the media recently talking about it. It’s becoming a truly desperate situation, and something urgently needs to be done about it.
Below we have included a sample letter which you can amend as relevant. To find the details of your local MP, enter your postcode, location, MPs name or job title via this link: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
As a service user/ family member of a service user/ friend of a service user/ disabled person (delete as appropriate) I am writing to you to express my concern about the fact that there is a current crisis in staffing levels in social care affecting all sectors of the industry including care homes, domiciliary services and directly employed Personal Assistants. There are over 105,000 vacancies to date in the industry.
This situation has developed rapidly following the end of the Brexit transition period which has led to the exacerbation of this problem. However it is also clear that in some cases the shortage of staff is due to low wage levels, particularly in rural areas where it is possible for people to earn much more house cleaning, dog walking or working in hospitality.
Too many disabled people are now being offered re-institutionalisation as an alternative to the right to live independently in the community due to the shortage of social care staff. This really is not acceptable and the government must take urgent action to avoid this happening in line with their UNCRPD commitments.
The recently announced scheme to recruit more social care staff without additional funding for higher wages beyond March 2022 is unlikely to alleviate this problem and I/we believe that urgent changes to immigration routes, at least in the short term, are needed to ensure the safety of disabled people who need social care. For live-in agencies this could be social care being declared a shortage occupation but for individual disabled employers whose social care is funded through Direct Payments or Personal Health Budgets a non-sponsored route is also needed.
I/We know from many years of experience that it is vital to have every path open to enable the recruitment and retention of social care staff with the key values, behaviours, personality, client synergy and skill set to deliver high quality, safe, and value-for-money services. I/we know that it is not possible for just anyone to become a satisfactory social care worker/PA.
I am also aware that the government claim to want to get 1 million disabled people into sustainable employment by 2027 and are currently boosting the number of Disability Employment Advisors to “help disabled people to secure and stay in work” through the ‘Plan for Jobs scheme.’ This however will be doomed to failure if at the same time access to a suitably qualified workforce to support disabled people to live independently in the community is removed. If no specific non-sponsored visa route is put in place, disabled people will not only be denied the possibility of working but may be forced to move out of the community into care homes. costing the exchequer far more. The cost of an Adult Treatment Unit placement can be around £12,000 per week, a care home placement for those with a Learning Disability at e.g. Winterbourne View an average £4,500 a week and a hospital bed £2,500 a week.
While the government has made exceptions for corporations to employ agricultural workers from abroad, HGV drivers and some other occupations, absolutely nothing is being put in place to deal with this very real crisis in social care happening now.
Having good quality social care for independent living is literally a life and death situation for disabled people and we/they must not become collateral damage in pursuit of the removal of freedom of movement. The inherent dangers this would create for disabled people must be acknowledged and mitigated by urgent action by the government putting in place changes to immigration routes and additional funding specifically for higher social care wages. British workers are now asking for double or more than double the amount of social care funding most disabled people are given to meet their needs. This is not sustainable.
Our thanks to Disabled People Against Cuts for the letter template.