Value care staff says National Star’s Chief Executive
National Star has called upon the skills of care staff to be valued after the government announced plans to block entry to the UK for low-paid workers from the EU.
National Star provides education, therapies and care for young people with complex disabilities from across the UK at centres in Hereford, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Malvern and Mamhilad in Wales.
Last year the charity, based in Cheltenham, supported more than 548 young people. It employs more than 1,000 staff.
Chief Executive David Ellis says to classify care workers as low skilled demeans their professionalism and the people they support.
‘National Star supports young people with complex disabilities and challenging behaviour. Our care teams are not low-skilled and it is an insult to their professionalism to suggest that.
‘Every hour of every day National Star care staff support vulnerable young people with vital care and they do that with dignity, respect and the highest level of professionalism.
‘Surely we, as human beings, deserve no less. Are we saying that providing safe and appropriate care is not a human right but a privilege to those who can afford it?’
Trained professionals work at National Star
All staff at National Star undergo a comprehensive induction programme. Staff providing personal care complete three weeks of training. Its care has been rated as Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.
‘Rather than being unskilled we would argue that it is becoming a more skilled profession as medical care advances and the NHS continues to outsource social care and end of life care,” said Mr Ellis.
‘By providing a high quality of care through our respite and residential services we are not only supporting the young person but also their family.
‘Twenty years ago less than half of our students used wheelchairs. Now more than 70 per cent use chairs and have complex medical issues.
‘Caring for someone isn’t just about getting the job done’
‘We have had to upskill our care teams. A former student has expressed the need for skilled care far more eloquently than I. She said ‘caring for someone isn’t just about getting the job done’.
‘What the government should be doing is valuing the care profession. Our adult social care depends on these people.’
Under the immigration system the government plans to introduce next year, people who earn less than the £26,500 salary threshold will be classed as low skilled. Most care workers earn less that the threshold salary.
Mr Ellis said pay is dictated by what the government, through local authorities, is willing to pay.
‘There is a national shortage of skilled care staff and this proposal will not help. The government suggests that we need to find solutions but the biggest issue for care providers, both in the charity and private sector, is that the salaries we offer are dependent on local authorities are willing to pay.
‘Most families who have a young person with disabilities will not be able to afford to pay for private care.’
National Star has a waiting list of more than 40 young people for long-term living accommodation.
‘As a charity, we launched our long-term care because students and their families told us that there was a lack of high quality care where young people can live with their peers. The staff support the young people to have as active and productive lives as possible.’