While the Cavendish Coalition, with formidable representation of both the NHS and private social care sector, lobbies to protect the position of EU workers in a post-Brexit Britain, the biggest worry must be that these workers will vote with their feet.
When I last looked, 89 pence buys one Euro and many financial wallahs are predicting that the two currencies will continue to edge closer to parity. The incentive then, for EU citizens to come to the UK, or even remain here, and work is likely to dwindle; why work in an isolationist UK when similar wages can be earned in other western european countries?
But recruitment difficulties in health and social care go much deeper than Brexit and the question of overseas workers. The perception persists that care work is unskilled (it’s not); that it is a dead-end job (it’s not), and the unvarnished truth is that the low-pay status of care workers contributes significantly to these workers’ self esteem, and to how they are perceived by others.
Current wisdom is that only those care providers who truly value their staff will be successful in the long run. I hold that to be true but I think there are plenty of the Old Guard left who give lip service to valuing their staff while paying them little, enticing them with false promises of flexible working and not so much as providing even basic staff amenities.
These recruitment difficulties will not go away until some means is found to elevate care workers above their current position and to give them a fairer slice of their nation’s wealth.
The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.