A new tax?

Headlines were made last week by calls from Dr Dan Poulter – a former health minister – for an additional tax to fund health and social care in order to save it from collapse. Poulter’s experiences make him an astute judge of the sector’s performance. As well as serving as a minister in the Department of Health, he is a fully trained gynaecological practitioner and still continues to work as a doctor for the NHS on a part time basis. Furthermore, the fact that a former Conservative frontbencher, who is unlikely to be an enthusiastic proponent of higher taxes, is supporting a tax illustrates the magnitude of the challenges faced by the health and social care sector.

Poulter suggests that the sectors need a “special tax that will guarantee an income stream, rather than policies like the cap which are entirely dependent on the economic climate of the moment.” He goes on to suggest the government needs to appreciate the scale of the social care crisis and that the reality is at least a million people aren’t getting the basic care they need.

The social care sector is in dire need of a permanent and comprehensive funding solution if it is to be able to keep providing high quality care for the millions of people who require it across the country. The scale of the challenges faced are vast. Local councils have to manage a £1bn shortfall in their social care budgets, which has resulted in some alarming cutbacks; many have had to reduce the number of services they are able to provide, and visits have been shortening in length to the detriment of the quality of care provided.

The sector’s financial challenges now present themselves at every level of the social care system. Over the last parliament, it is estimated that the government cut more than £4.6 billion from its social care budget. The ramifications of which can be felt down the chain: as a result of council cuts, care providers subsequently see their revenues fall which risks lowering standards and even forcing operators out of business.

A recent BBC study reported that 25% of care homes are at risk of going out of business due to their precarious financial situation – which would have severe repercussions for society’s most vulnerable people. Furthermore, while employees in the sector are rightly benefitting from a deserved pay rise following the introduction of the increased National Minimum Wage (NMW), jobs will be at risk if providers go under.

While a health and social care income tax is not necessarily the best way of tackling the health and social care funding crisis, it is good to see policymakers at the highest echelons of government looking for innovative solutions, something that is quite clearly needed.

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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.

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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.

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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.