MPs urged to back new national care service

UNISON is encouraging prospective and sitting MPs to commit to backing a national care service

Two people hold hands on a couch
Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Union UNISON is General election candidates from all parties across London are being asked to support the creation of a new national care service in England.

The union,  the UK’s largest, says too many people in London cannot access the social care they desperately need because the current system is broken.

UNISON wants to see a new service based on high quality care and a fairly rewarded workforce. Although these changes wouldn’t happen overnight, the union believes the reforms would put an end to 15-minute home care visits, long waits for care packages, and low wages for staff.

A national care service would also mean the quality of care is of the same high standard, no matter where it was being provided, says UNISON.

Wages would also be boosted with a new fair pay agreement, lifting care jobs off minimum wage rates and standardising salaries across England.

This would allow care companies to start filling the huge 152,000 vacancies hole in the sector’s workforce, says UNISON.

Parliamentary candidates who sign up to the pledge card commit to backing a national care service that would improve the quality of care for all those who need it; support independent living and take a ‘home first’ approach; promote public sector and non-profit delivery of care services; introduce national partnership working by bringing together employers, unions and government; and implement a fair pay agreement in adult social care.

A national care service would also assist families trying to find out more about the level of care provision on offer locally. The union says that trying to navigate the current system to secure any kind of support can be confusing, complicated, and stressful.

Labour has already pledged to create a national care service and a new fair pay agreement for care workers if the party forms the next government.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was the first politician to show his support by signing UNISON’s pledge card for the service.

Now the union is calling on every candidate who has been selected to stand in English parliamentary seats at the next general election to sign up too.

UNISON London regional secretary Jo Galloway said: “Social care is broken. The current fragmented and privatised system is unfit to meet the needs of everyone who needs support. But a better way is possible.

“Care workers are the beating heart of a system that should be able to look after everyone’s loved ones with compassion and kindness. But without the cash or sufficient staff, the sector is struggling to deliver, putting unbearable pressure on the NHS and families.

“If London is to have a care service of which it can be truly proud, care workers must be valued, recognised and rewarded as the skilled professionals they are.

“That requires radical change. Too many families are suffering because they can’t access the support they need and because care isn’t seen as the priority it should be by the current government.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest, no matter how old they are, that England has a national care service. That’s why it’s so important for all the London parliamentary candidates to publicly pledge their support.”

UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy.

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