Don’t always blame low paid care workers, says Andrew George

Posted on: 9th November 2011

Commenting on the report which has been published today by the Patients’ Association, MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives and member of the Commons Health Select Committee, Andrew George, said:

“It is right that the Patients’ Association has highlighted unacceptable practice. This is a matter of fundamental concern. It is essential that both care and also nursing standards are upheld and, where failing, improved.

“However, what none of this latest raft of reports – from the Care Quality Commission, Health Ombudsman and Patients’ Association – appear to acknowledge is the dangerously unsustainable staffing levels in many care and nursing settings.

“It is all very well for the great and the good to be wheeled into news studios to castigate the insufficient army of workers who, whilst on minimum wage, do work I suspect few of these critics would be prepared to do themselves. Care workers do an often impossible job with insufficient support and are expected to do so on minimum wages and, on many occasions, with virtually no training.

“I would take more notice if those who are so quick and keen to criticise were to pledge to do the work of carers, supporting often acutely ill, immobile, incontinent and demented patients on shifts during the night or day, week day or weekend whilst surviving on a minimum wage.

“I am pleased that our Commons Health Select Committee is currently undertaking an Inquiry into education, training and workforce planning.

“I would welcome hearing from those working in the service about how they are coping with staff to patient ratios which I suspect are unsustainable.”


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