Care home staff pay and training that “lags way behind” other workers must be tackled by lobbying the government for changes to the way provider organisations are funded, according to nurses at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference.
Nurses highlighted the shortfall in funding between what the government provides and the “true” cost of caring for people with complex needs, which is then plugged by resident contributions.
“[We shoujld be] able to reward our hard-working staff with the wage they deserve”
They also noted extra financial challenges such as rising registration fees with the Care Quality Commission, the high cost of insurance and the fact staff should be paid more than the minimum wage that most currently earn.
Iain McGregor from the RCN’s Older People’s Forum – who is also a care home manager – proposed the motion.
He said: “With most care staff and domiciliary staff receiving the minimum wage and not a living wage, this should be addressed and considered in this debate so we are able to reward our hard-working staff with the wage they deserve.”
Mr McGregor called for a change in the way care homes received the local authority funding that covers part of their costs – moving from a blanket payment system to one which gives individual funding packages based on the needs of residents.
Samantha Pessoll, from the union’s Derbyshire branch noted that nursing homes now care for people who years ago would have been in community hospitals, with clinicians requiring skills for polypharmacy and complex mental health conditions.
“Some of the training for the staff and residents who work and live in these homes lags way, way behind”
“Yet some of the training for the staff and residents who work and live in these homes lags way, way behind,” she said.
Bernadette Medcalf, from the RCN’s Portsmouth branch, echoed Ms Pessoll’s comments.
“While some large multinational companies are excellent and some small establishments are very good with their training and ongoing career progression, there are others that have very limited budgets that they can’t spend on training – and yet we expect that quality and standard to be high,” she said.
The resolution to lobby UK governments to recognise the true cost of care, and make adjustments in the payments made to care home providers was passed overwhelmingly.