Care workers: Britain’s unsung heroes

Having worked overtime until the early hours of the morning, driving from house to house on snow-covered roads, Jessica Gentry, a care worker from Bury, decided to share her experience on Facebook in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

Within the letter she talks about the man with a suspected stroke and who she waited with for an ambulance. She talks also of the 15 lots of medicine she administered, the various patients with dementia that she reassured, and her frustration with having to do all this during twenty-minute visits while being paid the minimum wage.

Her post has since been shared almost 180,000 times with thousands more commenting with messages of support in the lack of recognition carers do for their invaluable work.

A fresh perspective

So much of the news coverage surrounding the social care crisis revolves around the experiences and views of politicians, medical professionals, and council leaders. While their opinions are important, there is a distinct danger that the public become tired of hearing the same people say the same thing, time after time.

That is perhaps why Jessica Gentry’s Facebook status grabbed the public’s attention in such a manner. This was a first-hand experience of an ordinary care worker going to extraordinary lengths for her patients; doing so under immense time pressure and with limited financial compensation. Unfortunately, stories like Jessica’s tend to go untold, drowned out instead by the government’s continued assurances that everything is under control.

The huge demonstration of support she received is indicative of the public’s feelings on the matter, and acted as a reminder to many of the immense value in the work that care workers do. The status ends with a plea to Theresa May, calling on her to improve care workers’ pay and training. When you consider that care workers spend every day doing their upmost to ensure our elderly relatives are warm, fed, safe and have company – even for a short time –, it is difficult to disagree.

There is already a huge problem with recruitment, with almost a quarter of all care workers leaving their role each year, and it is predicted the mismatch between supply and demand for carers could be 1 million workers by 2025. The government should therefore be doing everything it can to recruit new care workers, and that includes improving their pay and training.

Yet herein lies the devastating reality of the current crisis. Current funding levels mean the social care system is already at breaking point. Councils are scheduling 15-minute visits to cut costs and many care providers are pulling out of contracts because they are no longer financially viable.  We all agree that carers deserve better pay; it is about the time the government found the money to make it happen.

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Jobs FAQs

What shifts or rotas are available for professional carers?

Our branches have a wide variety of hours and rotas which means it’s possible to find shifts that fit in with your life situation, whether you want a full time role or are just looking for a few hours a week. All that we ask is that you commit to the hours you can do two weeks in advance.

Do I need care experience to join?

Six months’ professional care experience is ideal - such as a domiciliary carer, care assistant, homecare worker, support worker or healthcare assistant. However, if you are new to care some branches do offer training leading to care certificates, so please contact the recruitment team to discuss on 0808 239 9716.

Do I need a driving licence?

A full clean driving is required for some roles, but not all. Job roles normally state if a driving licence is required, but if you are unsure then please contact the recruitment team on 0808 239 9716.

What pre-employment checks do you do?

To join Prestige Nursing & Care as a professional carer you will be required to apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, unless you are registered with the update service.

We can help you apply via your local branch. When you work with children and vulnerable adults a DBS check is a legal requirement. Find out more about DBS checks: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service/about.

We also require two professional references, one of which should be your current or most recent employer.

Finally, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK, NI number, ID and proof of address. Your recruiter will talk you through all requirements and support you all the way.

What training do I need to complete before starting work?

You will need to complete both online e-learning modules and virtual training via Microsoft Teams. This is very flexible and can be completed from home as long as you have a compatible device. Find out more about the training we offer.

Is the training free?

Yes, the training is completely free.

Do you offer regular patterns of work?

Yes, our branches offer a wide variety of hours and shift patterns.

Will I be employed by Prestige Nursing & Care?

You would become a member of our team with a contract for services. You would be eligible for things like SSP and holiday, as well as a NEST workplace pension.

How old do you have to be to work as a carer?

You need to be 18 years old to join our care team and there is no upper age limit.

How often will I get paid?

We pay all our professional carers weekly.