Kathy Jenkins – 14th October 2021
The Scottish Government is consulting on what a National Care Service for Scotland should look like. In our Common Weal Social Care Reform group, we have emphasised the importance of understanding what ‘care’ is and of the fact that care must be based on building strong relationships between those in need of care and those giving care. This means it is absolutely central to look after the social care workforce – to provide good education and training, support and supervision and good working conditions. As part of this, it is crucial that the new National Care Service has as a cornerstone the health, safety and welfare of carers.
The new Common Weal policy paper ‘Health, safety and welfare of the social care workforce’ explores issues faced by social care workers which compromise their safety and health, from understaffing and lack of support, violence and aggression, to inadequate infection control measures, to precarious contracts and low pay…resulting in work related stress, ill health and burn out.
The paper looks at how the health of social care workers should be protected by their employers, their unions, the Scottish Government and local authorities, the law and enforcement agencies. It makes a serious of recommendations which we hope will inform the shape of a National Care Service in Scotland.
Please let us know your thoughts on this as we try to create a better National Care Service.
Kathleen Jenkins is a member of the Common Weal Care Reform working group. She is the Secretary of Scottish Hazards, a health and safety activist network which provides a support service to mainly non unionised workers. She is the health and safety officer for the Edinburgh Not for Profit Branch of Unite. Kathy has worked in community development, public health and university teaching.