‘I think it’s amazing how committed care staff are, who we don’t deserve to have’ - pay issues taking toll on Norfolk carer service

07:00 23 October 2012

Pay concerns are leading to around 200 home carers used by a council to look after vulnerable people to leave their jobs each year.

Norfolk County Council spends £34m a year on using 25 main agencies to provide care to around 5,800 older and disabled people in their homes.

But people who use the service have raised concerns about the quality and continuity of the care they receive, due to staff leaving on a regular basis.

A report, compiled by county councillors, praises the 1,000-plus workers as “very committed and dedicated people”, but found 19pc complete their formal training but do not stay on. It added there were “real differences” in how staff were paid, with the situation varying depending on which contractor employed them.

Some care staff have their uniforms paid for, while others do not.

The authority is now recommending that companies competing for six home care deals, which are up for offer, work out how much it will cost to ensure staff are paid for mileage costs, travel time, provision of uniforms, Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks and training.

It is hoped that if these recommendations are implemented, more staff can be retained.

The report noted: “Turnover of around 19pc per annum clearly affects the quality of care offered to service users particularly in relation to consistency and continuity and has a cost to home care providers. Consistency, continuity and timeliness were the biggest issues raised by service users.”

Home care agencies are asked to provide up to 12 weeks of training for new staff, including an induction and job shadowing, by the Care Quality Commission. Some agencies choose to do more than this.

Phil Wells, Age UK Norwich chief executive, said: “It’s certainly an issue that comes back to the low status given to the job. There’s no way of resolving that until it becomes a high-status occupation, which then attracts people. I think it’s amazing how committed care staff are, who we don’t deserve to have as we don’t pay them anything like a decent wage.

“It’s very difficult for people to stick with the job when times are harder than they have been.”


  • Well there's 200 jobs a year that some people keep saying do not exist. You'd think that those leaving were going on to other jobs - as I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to claim benefits after resigning , at least I hope thats the case.

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    Tudor Bushe

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Working in social care and doing a good job is a highly skilled task. Ask yourselves, those of you who doubt... could YOU do it? Caring for people who are vulnerable, maybe at the end of their lives, possibly the only person they see every day, people who have fought for OUR country, people...HUMAN BEINGS, who have lived, breathed, thought, taught, contributed to life....they need to be treated with the kindness, consideration , empathy and the understanding that we would wish for when it may be our turn...the people who do this job deserve a lot lot more pay than most....imagine....the last person you see before you close your eyes, the person you rely on to make sure you are comfortable before they leave and lock your door....the person who knows how you like your pillows and blankets, the drink you can reach for in the middle of the night, the person who makes sure you have spoken to your family across the country, by holding the phone for you because you have had a stroke and at night time you are too tired to hold the phone yourself. The person who makes you laugh and forget the day of being all on your own. I applaud all the people working within the care sector who give so much, its not all...there are a few who do not give a hoot because the pay is so so low, but there are a lot who do and well done to you. Anyone who thinks such low pay is deserved think may well be you one day....who needs that kindness...

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    louisa oldfield

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

  • The many carers groups in Norfolk and Age UK stand indited by continually failing to meet and develop a strategic policy

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    No to tory boy

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • As social services continues to struggle with meeting increasing demands ;why dont groups take the initiative and organise the service

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    No to tory boy

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Lucy, you are so correct in what you say, it is a subject that is not properly addressed and never has been, probably never will be. I have been a Carer for 27 years so I understand where you are coming from. "No to tory boy" comments are confusing. Carers Groups exist to support and inform Carers whilst giving them a small social break, we have £150 per year of funding from Norfolk County Council and like Age UK have nothing to do with Care Policy, this is the remit of Social Services and in increasing amount by the Health Service.

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    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Another job which deserves a liveable wage... whilst the wages are pushed down by an endless pit of uncheckable migrant workforce.Greedy bosses and the last nuLabour government, twins of evil sez I.

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    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Noar Vale, have you worked as a home carer or care, I have it is a very hard job, When I was unemployed I gained work in the caring sector, it was a night mare, Travelling around the country side, being allows only having a set time at each home, I f you werekept late at one appontment, you ran late for the rest of the day. I know of people who worried so much about the job, they made them selves ill. and for what? the minium wage. The same applies for people working in care homes. The caring sector needs to have more social acceptance, otherwise the high staff turn over is going to continue.

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    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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