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Lack of funds is leaving carers short

PUBLISHED: 22:45 04 June 2002 | UPDATED: 15:27 03 March 2010

CARER bosses have slammed the lack of funds they receive from the authorities, leaving the industry at crisis point.

Umbrella organisation the Anglia Care Association, has long been campaigning for more cash to help its agencies pay staff - who care for elderly people assessed by Suffolk County Council as needing help.

CARER bosses have slammed the lack of funds they receive from the authorities, leaving the industry at crisis point.

Umbrella organisation the Anglia Care Association, has long been campaigning for more cash to help its agencies pay staff – who care for elderly people assessed by Suffolk County Council as needing help.

The ACA's concerns for the future were featured in the Star last August.

This week, ACA told the Star the council had not even considered paying care agencies extra for the Jubilee extended bank holiday, despite awarding double time to its own care staff.

But after the Star intervened, officials changed their minds the next day, and granted double pay.

ACA chairwoman Frances Tebbutt had said: "We are delighted about the jubilee pay, but we should not have had to go to the Evening Star to get things done.

"We did write to the council's assistant finance director a month ago to ask for funds, but he said we should have applied when the year's budget was being decided."

Lettie Martino, secretary added: "We have actually been campaigning about Bank Holiday rates for seven years."

Frances added that there still were many others issues not being addressed by the council.

She added: "Although the council says it is looking at pay, the increase in April was peanuts. We are 14 per cent behind what we should be.

"It is very difficult to recruit more staff, and cover the work while people are being trained to meet new regulations. I have lost half my carers in the past 18 months."

Lettie added: "When I started in the profession 20 years ago, there were more carers than clients, but it is very different now. The NHS is at crisis point but home carers are the Cinderellas of the caring profession –under-valued and under-rated. I would say we are nearly at crisis point."

Frances said Essex County Council pays its care providers £12 an hour, while Suffolk gives £8.72. The ACA covers half the care market, and the agencies its represents, employ 200 carers across Suffolk.

The Bank Holiday blow follows other hefty costs to comply with several new regulations.

Frances added: "Suffolk County Council operates a two-tier system for provision of care … and unless it takes action soon, the current shortfall in care will be made worse – precipitating a similar crisis as in the residential and nursing home sector."

She added the ACA's main concerns were not addressed in the council's latest strategy, and added: "We feel our time and goodwill is stretched beyond endurance, and they treat us with contempt."

A council spokesman said: "The problems the ACA raises, like new regulations, are national problems, and are not specific to Suffolk at all. When it comes to Government initiatives like new training standards, we would agree with them. "New initiatives like that haven't been funded."

The news comes as trade unions estimate up to six million people are set to lose out on Jubilee bank holiday pay.

The Trade Union Congress is calling on the Government to change the law to ensure employees working on public holidays are paid at least double time, or are paid the normal rate and given an extra day's compensatory paid leave.

John Monks, TUC General Secretary, said: "This issue is about fairness. Bank holidays like the Jubilee should be national days of celebration, enjoyed by as many people as possible in the Eastern region - and that means employees must be properly paid for these holidays."

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