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COUNCILS are using untrained and inexperienced workers in social care because of the staffing crisis in the sector, it emerged today.
Workers in council departments such as planning and highways are being asked by bosses to volunteer to fill vacant roles caring for vulnerable and elderly people.
Britain’s care sector is short of 100,000 workers and the problem is being made worse by absences caused by the spread of the omicron variant of coronavirus.
Staff quit the sector in their thousands after care provision was privatised and the work snapped up by profit-driven companies.
Workers’ wages and conditions were attacked and the time allowed for carrying out care duties was reduced.
North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum chairman Richard Flinton said: “These emergency plans will only be used if needed but will hopefully provide sufficient volunteers to get us through the omicron wave, which may see as much as a 40 per cent reduction in available care staff due to illness or self-isolation.”
Unison senior national officer Gavin Edwards told the Morning Star: “Long before the pandemic, social care had massive staff shortages.
“Now the situation is at crisis levels, with the sector struggling to operate safely and using untrained staff from other public services.
“It just show the mess created by a fragmented and privatised system when council workers are being asked to help tackle the problems in private care homes.
“The government needs to sort out the chronic low pay that stops people even entering the sector. Ensuring staff are paid at least the real living wage would be a start.”
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