The announcement by Somerset County Council and the NHS of a joint £4.8m investment to increase pay and recognise the hard work and vital contributions of carers in the county, has been welcomed by UNISON.
Working with the union, the council and the NHS are making changes to care workers’ pay, which include:
- A 9% funding increase to domiciliary care providers (in CQC-regulated settings) that agree to pay all their staff a minimum of £10.50 per hour.
- A retention bonus of £250 for staff who have been working in registered care for the last six months.
- A £250 payment for new starters in domiciliary care (who have not worked in care in Somerset for the preceding three months).
UNISON South West social care lead Helen Eccles said:
“This is excellent news for Somerset’s care sector. UNISON will be working with the county council to ensure all employers pass on these increases to the care workforce.
“Social care staff play a vital role in keeping some of the most vulnerable people safe and well in their own homes. But a chronic lack of funding and the extraordinary pressures faced during the pandemic have meant a service already struggling has been hit by crisis after crisis.
”This initiative will help reduce pressure on the NHS this winter, help free up beds and ensure people are being cared for in the right place.
“Social care must be properly funded to ensure long terms changes are made to a broken system. The NHS and Social Care are intrinsically linked and chronically under resourced. UNISON is calling on Central Government to ensure proper funding to secure meaningful pay rises across the social care sector. A strong and sustainable Social Care provision supports the NHS by freeing up beds currently occupied by between 10-30% of patients fit for discharge.”