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Labour to create homecare workers “as new arm of the NHS”


A “new arm of the NHS” in the form of 5,000 “homecare workers” would be created by Labour were the party to win the general election.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Labour leader Ed Miliband are today unveiling the Labour Party’s 10-year plan for the NHS and have said the homecare workers would focus on “those with the greatest needs, including the terminally ill so they can stay with their family at the end of life, and those who are leaving hospital who need extra help if they are to move back into their homes”.

There is as yet no detail on the training and qualifications these employees would have, what kinds of organisations would employ them, or how much they would be paid.

Labour has pledged to pay for these new employees with a previously announced mansion tax, a levy on tobacco firms and a crackdown on tax avoidance.

The party also confirmed its commitment to recruit 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs and nurses, which will, it says, create an NHS that has “time to care”.

The 10 year plan will also bring in “tougher controls on hospitals increasing their focus on private patients to ensure they always put NHS patients first”.

“We can only join up the services when we have the right values at the heart of our NHS”

Ed Miliband

Speaking to reporters yesterday ahead of today’s launch, Mr Miliband said: “What people most want for the health service is a sense of a plan, of a vision of the future.”


Ed Miliband

In his speech today he is expected to say: “We can only join up the services when we have the right values at the heart of our NHS: care, compassion and cooperation, not competition, fragmentation and privatisation. These aren’t the values of our National Health Service. These aren’t the values of the Labour Party. These aren’t the values of the British people.”

“If social care in England is allowed to collapse, it will drag down the rest of the NHS”

Andy Burnham

Labour has previously pledged to repeal parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, in which the controversial section three made many existing NHS rules on competition statutorily enforceable.

Today in his speech Mr Burnham is also set to repeat his desire to reorder the priorities of the service and is expected to say: “Our aspiration is to create a service that supports people with dementia, autism and mental ill health as well as it treats cancer.”

Mr Burnham is also expected to say: “If social care in England is allowed to collapse, it will drag down the rest of the NHS. [It] is a root cause of the crisis in [accident and emergency]. For the want of spending a few pounds in people’s homes on decent home care, we are spending thousands of pounds keeping older people in hospital, even when they are able to leave. The increasing hospitalisation of older people is no vision for the ageing society.”


Readers' comments (15)

  • So we do not know who will employ them,what qualifications they will need,or how much they will be paid...if they are a nurse,that should mean a degree the same as any should be the same otherwise why would people do it.As for terminally ill at home,that is fine if the family want it....more importantly even if they do unless we have a nurse with them 24hrs a day,are they capable of doing what they think they can slight on people but some can and some can,t.
    Sounds like another idea not thought out and will be paid by a tax that does not exist yet.
    Great in theory but a disaster in reality...there will be more area managers etc etc ........ more pen pushers,just what we don,t need.
    If this is to work it has to be linked to the hospital care so that the home becomes a part of the system.
    As for 20,000 more nurses...brilliant as long as they are trained and actually work on the wards and not join the growing masses who push a pen,thinking that the patients in the six bedder all got up,showered and changed their own wet beds ready for them to come in and write up the notes.....we are already spending more money than we were in 2010,thats not the awnser....getting smarteris.

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  • Isn't this Community HCAs? Or is it because social care is cheaper because it lacks public sector benefits? Linking up social care to the NHS, when it is provided by all manner of organisations, many being agencies, is a tricky thing. Or is it that this tricky thing, already in existence, can be brought under a public sector wing for observation, without being part of it, per se? If health & social care were interlinked, what would that mean? Is it just Social Services linked to the NHS? Contracting in the work from whom/where? Dunno.

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  • Doubt they will recruit 20,000 more nurses with the current dire pay and working conditions in NHS!

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  • who would work for the nhs when your pay rises by 1£ in six years... ? no really...

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  • Totally agree with first comment.

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  • Lots of home-care agencies are a joke. I've always said the NHS should take on this role and employ home care workers directly, to end this auction style bidding for paying out the lowest possible, and thus contracting to some APPALLING private companies. Private sector care companies milk the clients, don't pay staff properly, provide adequate training and support or so on. They generally take on anybody who has a breath which is scary, whereas in my experience, the NHS are a bit more thorough and demand 3 years full referencing for example. Example, I'm still doing A-Levels, and hope to apply for nursing at some point. I went for an interview at a very well known home care agency as I thought it would be great experience. Offered the job on the spot, although I filled out a DBS form, no references were requested or anything. Barely even read my application form, just wanted to know I'd work between 7am and 10pm, 7 days a week. I could have made up my entire history and they didn't seem bothered. After a little more research which included reading about someone working who stank of alcohol, I didn't bother with that job. No way would I put myself or a client in that position with a colleague like that! O_O My friend who already works for them say's that the company don't really give a damn about the clients, not even a little bit, it's all about squeezing every last bit of labour possible for nothing. They should be public sector employed, trained to the same standard as HCA's who work in hospitals (Level 2 Clinical Support I believe it is now) as minimum, if not more so, as they would be working independently for the most part, paid properly, and given the support they need to give clients the best care as well as being happy decent employees.
    Anonymous | 27-Jan-2015 9:23 pm, As this is about homecare, if you know how much they get paid, I reckon most of them would be breaking off arms and legs for the opportunity of a salary, even a rubbish one with few pay increases. The current system is pathetic whichever way it is looked at.

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  • Apologies for mu long post ^^^ and shocking grammar! Ranting and rushing!

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  • I think we should all calm down a bit, this is just political 'spinning' - seeing who can claim they know how to 'cure' the NHS. We are all aware that no hospital wants to admit an elderly person because they are the root of all the problems with the NHS. (Nothing to do with lack of funding or lack of forward planning for an increased population) An army of 'carers' who will 'care' for the elderly in their homes has already been bandied about by others, so is nothing new. We do not need to know what training they will have or how they will be paid , because it is what it is - hot air -at the moment. When the dust settles and the party elected decides what it is actually going to do, then we will see what will be - and then we can worry. Meanwhile all those under 60, be thankful that at the moment you are not considered a burden to the NHS, and all those older than that, keep your fingers crossed that whoever gets in, really does care about your welfare, and does not subscribe to the premise that the elderly should be neither seen nor heard!

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  • no0 doubt they will bring in some law that states nurses wont be paid, nurses are always blamed for earning money, who on earth would want to nurse, get out while the goings good

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  • Hello Labour party there is already a "homecare" service out there. It is called district or community nursing. We do the things described. No wonder it is underfunded when politicians don't even know we exist!

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