UNISON calls for better pay to recruit and keep staff in response to damning Care UK CQC report

Reacting to the damning CQC report on Care UK at Mills Meadow UNISON has called on the company to pay its staff in Suffolk a decent wage to improve staff recruitment and retention.

UNISON Area Organiser Jennie Anderson said “We continually raise concerns about staffing levels with Care UK. It was inevitable that this would lead to a fall in the quality of care provided.  We have been fobbed off time and time again and have been told that staffing is not a problem. UNISON members working in the homes have expressed concerns and unfortunately they have been proved right. If Care UK is sincere about providing high quality care to elderly people in Suffolk they need to invest in their front line staff.

“A cut in wages for many carers meant staff have left and Care UK have experienced some difficulties recruiting. However the staff that remain are hard working and committed and are providing the best care possible in very difficult circumstances.  This is reflected in the comments quoted in the CQC report from residents such as “The people (staff) are very kind without fail”. “They are genuinely nice people and always kind and considerate”. “They (staff) are ever so encouraging and supportive and try to get you interested in different things”.”

The CQC report found that as a consequence of insufficient staff being employed in the home carers had more work than they could cope with.  A UNISON member who asked to remain anonymous said “We want to provide the best quality care but we can’t be split in two.  We are very short of kitchen staff, I am supposed to be looking after residents but I have been told to work part of my shift in the kitchen. Staff who are leaving say they don’t want to go but feel they are being used as scapegoats.  It’s not nice and they are earning low wages so they leave”.

Jennie Anderson said “If Care UK have undertaken a full rota review – a measure UNISON has been requesting for some time – then this is a step in the right direction.  We hope that UNISON members and residents will see the result of this in the homes immediately.”

UNISON will be meeting with Care UK later this month for discussions.