Oldham MP: clapping for care workers is just not enough

Date published: 18 May 2020

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has said that care workers deserve to be clapped each week, but that alone is not enough as they also deserve fair pay and proper funding.

Mrs Abrahams said: “Our carers deserve all the clapping and cheering in the world, as they are on the front line of the fight against coronavirus, but they also deserve fair pay and proper funding. 

“Working day and night they go above and beyond to protect the most vulnerable people and it’s great that the Prime Minister, and his ministers, join in the clapping each week, but they must promise to protect carers too.

“Under this government social care has been neglected for a decade with our care workers underpaid and undervalued. 

"That’s not good enough when, under current Government plans, social care will be short of billions pounds in funding when we emerge from this crisis meaning the carers we’re all clapping today could lose their jobs tomorrow.

“If that happens, 225,000 older people and vulnerable adults could lose the support they rely on as care providers shut down.”

Commenting on the the wider issues of COVID-19 on social care, Mrs Abrahams added: “Talk of being 'past the peak' of this awful virus simply does not hold true for social care. 

“The government must do more to protect care users and staff as a matter of urgency and to help bring these appalling death rates down.

“We welcomed ministers’ commitment to testing all care users and staff, but as the National Care Forum has reported, only one in five care workers have been tested to date.

"Their survey also finds no prioritisation of care staff, who are having to ‘compete’ with all other eligible key workers and eligible members of the public, and that local testing is hugely variable.

"This must urgently change, to bring down death rates and protect care workers.

“Also, more needs to be done to ensure all care staff get the PPE they need and to ensure social care is properly funded to deal with the extra costs of the pandemic.”

Labour is calling on the Government to ensure: 

* A new intermediate care strategy for people being discharged from hospital who test positive for Covid-19, and to support struggling care homes.

* Guarantees that all care workers get the PPE they need: for domiciliary care workers and Personal Assistants employed via Direct Payments, as well as staff in residential care.

* Social care has ‘whatever resources it takes’ to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic; and new leadership for social care sector, with a new Chief Care Officer.

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