Scottish Labour and the GMB union have today warned of a crisis in social care with ‘exhausted key workers, vulnerable services users and worried families’.
Ahead of this week’s Scottish budget, Labour said it is time for a National Care Service that ‘puts people ahead of profit’.
In the past week, one of the UK’s largest social care providers announced it will put ten of its homes in Scotland up for sale.
The care homes operated by HC-One, and employing 750 people, could close permanently if they are not taken over by another care provider, underlining the precarious nature of private care in the UK.
As well as swiftly introducing the promised National Care Service, Scottish Labour has called on the Scottish Government to pledge to increase the pay of all social care workers to £15 an hour, starting with an immediate increase in pay to £12 an hour.
Scottish Labour deputy leader and health and social care spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “We must ensure that the highest levels of care are provided to guarantee the wellbeing of residents, and that staff are valued for their work.
“When private care homes are put for sale, it can take months to find new buyers – leaving hundreds of jobs at risk.
“Now is the time for a National Care Service that puts people ahead of profit and offers our care workforce the £15 an hour pay they deserve, and the SNP government should deliver this in this week’s budget.”
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “HC-One is demonstrating everything that is wrong with our broken model of care and the private provision of residential care.
“The directors and spaghetti bowl of interest groups behind HC-One will not suffer here, the uncertainty will only affect exhausted key workers, vulnerable services users and worried families. This is added emotional punishment after a horrific year.
“It’s why we need to move at pace over the implementation of the Independent Adult Social Care Review recommendations for a National Care Service, so we can start to address the crises in our social care sector which COVID-19 has exposed.”