Posted on March 11, 2015

Bed blocking made worse by poor pay for carers

Poor pay for domiciliary home care workers is making the current bed blocking crisis in hospitals worse, according to one NHS trust. The chief operating officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Stewart Messer, said that the current pay and working conditions for domiciliary home care workers means that it is difficult to retain staff. This means that it can take longer for patients to be released from hospital, as there is no care service in place for them at home. The trust says that the number of days patients were delayed in hospital between April 2014 and January 2015 increased by more than 62% when compared to the same period in the previous year. Mr Messer told a trust board meeting that the route for domiciliary home care discharge is at saturation point and that the tendency to pay minimum wage is not the only problem. Many care workers are female and often take annual leave during the school holidays, reducing the number of care workers available at these times. UKHCA issued a similar warning recently after it was discovered that many councils do not pay the suggested amount for care. Worcestershire County Council pays £15.80 an hour for domiciliary home care services, compared to the UKHCA minimum level of £15.74; however, UKHCA is recommending an increase in fees for the next financial year. Worcestershire County Council has confirmed that it is working with providers to figure out how to improve the situation and help companies to retain staff.
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