Author Topic: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce  (Read 482 times)

ditchdwellers

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Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« on: 23 Jul 2022 05:23PM »
https://www.independentlives.org/news/personal-assistant-survey-the-forgotten-workforce

A recent survey has been carried out looking into the problem that people are having trying to recruit PAs and the appalling pay and conditions that PAs are expected to work under by Social Services.

This link provides a summary of the findings and has a further link to the full report.

My PA sent it to me!
« Last Edit: 24 Jul 2022 08:25AM by Sunshine Meadows »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #1 on: 24 Jul 2022 11:54AM »
Thanks for the link.

I particularly noted this -

"Funders should place fewer restrictions on how direct payments and personal health budgets can be used by people supported by a PA."

I think that whilst there needs to be some control in terms of what can or can't be done with funding, I think flexibility can be really helpful.

It wouldn't work everywhere, but in dense urban areas and other areas where there happen to be clusters of disabled people. I'd like to see situations where a group of disabled people could employ a group of carers, with flexibility between them.


(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #2 on: 26 Jul 2022 12:24PM »
That's a very logical idea Sunny. In my case, my requirements for care support have changed hugely since my original Direct Payments plan was arranged and I get very frustrated by Social workers who refer back to this plan without taking into consideration my current condition. More flexibility is definitely required and I like the idea of having a small pool of PAs working collaboratively.


One thing that desperately needs addressing is the low pay level that councils expect to pay PAs. It amazes me that they are prepared to pay an agency £25+ an hour for care but think it's perfectly acceptable to pay a PA £9.50 an hour. Then they wonder why we have problems recruiting trained, experienced, and reliable PAs  :f_doh:


I would like to see PAs given the same working rights as any other Local Government employee as in my opinion, they are de facto employees.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #3 on: 26 Jul 2022 12:28PM »
Thank you for the information on the link. My capacity to read and write a longer post is limited but I did look.


More than anything successive governments have failed to understand and act on the benefits of helping disabled people financially. Rather than giving rich tax cuts so they can make elitist purchases they should be funding things like Direct Payments properly. Where there is money to be made structured beneficial services with be created . Money will be spent locally having further benefits to the local economy.


A few moneys ago we tried having a cleaner and neither one that came could do things that we really needed them for. For example dust high ceilings, hoover Bran's dog fur up. Even what they were able to do took three hours at £13 an hour whereas years ago our other clean did more work in two hours. She was old school and like a aunty who talked sense. I still miss her.


Covid made what was already a bad situation for the NHS and Social Services much worse.

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jul 2022 12:31PM »
It amazes me that they are prepared to pay an agency £25+ an hour for care but think it's perfectly acceptable to pay a PA £9.50 an hour. Then they wonder why we have problems recruiting trained, experienced, and reliable PAs 


I agree that wage scale is ridiculous especially for a PA.

ally

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jul 2022 03:19PM »
Before covid, we employed a cleaner  £30 for two hours  week.   She worked for a professional cleaning firm, and, did a good job.  We haven’t had one since the pandemic, due to the concern of covid, and, having people in our house.   I think  the going rate per hour for a cleaner will have risen since then.  We’re just muddling through at the moment.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jul 2022 07:07PM »
It can be difficult recruiting some sorts of support directly.  Not impossible, but difficult.

If it's someone you know or for whom you have a personal recommendation, that's one thing, but if not, who takes responsibility for vetting them?  Who is liable if something goes amiss, e.g. the PA leaves the front door open and the house is burgled?

That being said, I'd be wary of trusting an agency anyway.

When I wanted carers for Dad, I went through a reputable agency.  I was seeing him every day, and also taking him to appointments, running errands for him etc.  I arranged for someone to go in at lunch time.  For a while before he went into a care home, he was having three visits a day.

But I began to get niggly because, for instance, despite repeated requests, they were rigid in some things and kept mopping floors day after day.  They kept vacuuming little bits of carpet.  I said just vacuum the middle one day and the edges another or whatever, but no, the agency  had this rigid list.

After I moved back into the family home, I discovered the oven wasn't working properly.  How many Wiltshire Farm Foods fish and chips ready meals had he been given with nearly raw fish?

But if I'd recruited direct, would I have done a better job?  I'll never know.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jul 2022 07:12PM »
As for local authorities, government funding to local authorities has been cut massively over the years, and there have been massive disparities between cuts in different areas.  Put bluntly, if people in a constituency consistently vote conservative, they're likely to experience less severe cuts.

Meanwhile, privatisation of care homes has led to asset stripping, where investors sell off the premises to another company, typically owned by the same people, then rent it back.  Ditto with a range of premises, facilities, services.  The care home struggles more and more, and often goes bust.

Then the council has more people to care for with less funding.

Ditto what's been done with benefits.  Cut back benefits to individuals, so they need more help from the councils that have less money.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #8 on: 27 Jul 2022 12:28PM »
With Direct Payments, a portion of the payments is spent on Employers Liability insurance and there are specialist insurance companies such as Fish which include PA cover.  My insurance cost this year was about £70. I've had a couple of poor PAs and they didn't last long, but on the whole I've been very lucky and had very good people who have stayed for several years at a time.


We use an excellent agency to provide live in care for mother in law. It's a local agency run by someone who used to be a carer themselves and understands what's needed. They work with us to provide the right longterm carers and I'm very happy with the service. We have very good communication between ourselves and the carers on everything from needing to make doctors appointments, to replenishing the stock of kitchen knives. I value their opinions and trust them to manage my mother in law's needs professionally at all times. We are very lucky with the agency that I chose as we have the same two carers consistently which helps all of us immensely. It almost feels like they are part of the family.


I'm sorry you're experience hasn't been the same Sunny. I have heard all sorts of horror stories about agencies and like the one for my mother in law for the continuity of care it provides.





Sunny Clouds

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #9 on: 27 Jul 2022 12:47PM »
I've just looked on the Fish website.  The cover offered to people employing their own PA seems to cover employer's liability to others, not the sort that I described, i.e. loss to the employer.

If I get someone to do work in my home, there are certain requirements in my house insurance.  If, say, I get someone to do some repairs and they leave a door open unattended and my property is burgled, my claim is from the workman's insurer, not my own. 

I am not saying that I have never employed someone to help me that didn't have that sort of cover, but I took the risk knowing them.

Also, people's own house insurance will vary widely in terms of what it covers.

I just raised it as an example of what you have to weigh up when deciding whether to employ directly or through an agency etc.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #10 on: 28 Jul 2022 11:14AM »
I think Mark Bates Ltd might have the policy you're looking for.


I have my powerchair insured through them, and I'm going to ask them to quote for my house contents for me.


Fish used to include PA loss in their policy and removed it at my last renewal. That's fine as my current PA is extremely trustworthy and my cleaner is insured, but I might take a look at the Mark Bates one myself as a comparison.


Thanks Sunny for reminding me not to get too complacent about these things!

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #11 on: 28 Jul 2022 01:11PM »
It's kind of you to say that and to tell me about Mark Bates Ltd.

I was genuinely only trying to draw attention to the fact that there are lots of different issues for people wanting PAs vel sim. and working out the best way to source them and pay for them, which I don't think the 'powers that be' take into account when deciding what to do.

That being said, I loathe the fact that with 'care in the community' (and yes, I'm one of those negative people that often calls it 'don't-care in the community') there was a much bigger division between health care and social care, with cuts to both meaning that there are 'your problem not mine' clashes between them, and disabled people caught in the middle with all desperate health & social care budget holders desperately saying 'but you get benefits to pay for all this...'

So expletive inefficient.  My father spent the last two months of his life dying of vascular dementia and gradual organ failure in a single room in a general hospital.  It would have been both kinder and more cost-effective to send him home and give him a few visits a day.  Bluntly, even an overnight carer that could take care of supper and putting to bed, and likewise getting up and breakfast,  plus a shorter middle of the day visit, plus a one hour a week doctor visit, would have been much cheaper and better, even with far higher rates of pay than now for the carers.

My heart goes out to people that can do barely anything without support or who need far more support than I do.

That being said, I need some daily support and I'm not getting any and it's taken some hard work by a couple of neighbours to get the message across that it's ok to ask for free help with some stuff from neighbours.

Ironically, one of my biggest 'carers' is the Ouchtoo mob.  But that's also voluntary care so obviously it's not something I can 'rely on' rather than very much appreciate.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #12 on: 31 Jul 2022 01:42PM »
Do you think that many good people have put up with low wages and being pushed to do more for less has caused a lot of burn out in the sector? Loss of good sensible people means training of new starters is going be affected. When it comes to cleaning maybe it is a generational thing and good cleaners who had house proud mother's are dying out. Social Services often seem to be looking through the wrong end of the telescope for reasons not to help. Being told we either don't need help or we need limited help can be soul destroying as it makes each of our words smaller. Worse still being told you should be using PIP payments for xyz puts the blame for lack of help on us.


Going forward I think the sector will shrink further as PIP payments go on price hikes in energy bills. I just had a weird thought in places where Social Services have a them and us attitude the right wing policies of the past 12 years are going to keep on trucking. Whereas it could be a us and going forward as a we. Back in the 1990s people like my Mum fort and got treated very badly by Social Services and yet I think she and others like her did make a difference. Crikey this post is being to affected by my won experiences.


A lot of women who worked for pin money now have to be full time workers and this brings into play the processes of capitalism and way we have all lost so much when it comes to workers rights.


No I really have gone further off topic.


 :big_hugs: :f_peacedove:




Monic1511

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Re: Personal Assisrants - The Forgotten Workforce
« Reply #13 on: 31 Jul 2022 05:56PM »
People who did jobs because they loved the jobs were broken by the pandemic, ok you work in the care sector and care home residents die but not at the rate of 10 - 20 per week with the added pressure of loved ones not being able to visit. I can see why those on minimum wage went for a supermarket job instead.  Problem is if they increase the wages the providers lose profits and expect councils/government to increase fees. Councils have had their grants reduced by Westminster as well so they’re trying to cut costs. If the wages get higher they attract the greedy rather than carers, my 2nd cousin wanted to be a nurse as she thought it was glamorous   :f_doh:  then she was told that she’d have to deal with bodily fluids so that was a no from her.


I don’t know the answer but I can barely care for my mum, I couldn’t cope with caring for others as I’d be crabit with them.