Disabled Forest Hall woman ‘petrified for the future’ due to shortage of carers due to ‘low pay’

A severely disabled woman from Forest Hall has called on the local council and health authorities to increase the wages she pays her carers – as over the past ten months she has been unable to replace people who are take care of her and who have left.

Mary Laver, 75, has severe arthritis that makes her wheelchair dependent and a range of other complex mental and physical health conditions. She receives ongoing healthcare provided by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group alongside North Tyneside Council Social Services.

Due to her complex condition, Mary is entitled to round-the-clock care, but with care staff leaving for other jobs, pressure has increased on the remaining staff – who are on just £9.50 Of time. There are several vacancies in the team caring for her – but they have not been filled for months now and the other caregivers are now ‘burnt out’. Mary said the low rate of pay was part of the reason recruitment had been difficult – and said she was ‘petrified for the future’ by what could happen if new carers could not be attracted. the roles.

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She told ChronicleLive: “When I have all my caregivers, I have eight. At the moment there are six. I have severe arthritis and I’m totally confined to a wheelchair. My caregivers have to do everything for me. But they only pay minimum wage. I have such complex needs that I asked them again and again if they would increase the rate they pay? There are a lot of jobs who offer more money to people.

Both the council and the CCG dispute that the rate of pay is a “barrier” to recruitment.

Mary Laver of Forest Hall with carer Bev Reynard

Mary – who is a veteran disability rights campaigner – said she felt “lucky in some ways” because carers who stayed in their jobs did so out of loyalty. But she added: ‘The £9.50 charge for what they do is not good enough. She added that she wanted to speak out because low wages in the care sector impacted many more people than herself.

One of Mary’s carers, Beverley Reynard, added: ‘When I started the rate was £9.50, but then it was two pounds above minimum wage. with her rise we asked for pay raises but never got any. Over the past ten months Mary has lost staff. We have been working during lockdown and Covid we have had to work more to cover people leaving. We had to give up vacations. Mary’s problem now is that her staff are burnt out and we’re not bringing in new hires.”

Both women said they felt they had received mixed messages from the council and the CCG, and Bev added: “Mary is petrified if nothing happens, she is terrified of being in a care home. There’s a national shortage of carers – it’s because we don’t have ‘We’re not being paid what we need. It’s come to a head, we’re in crisis .

ChronicleLive understands the plan is now for agency staff to fill in the gaps – but Mary is worried about the impact new people coming in and out of her home on a regular basis will have on her mental health.

North Tyneside Council and North Tyneside NHS CCG said they could not comment on individual cases. In a joint statement, the organizations said: “While we recognize that there have been significant challenges in the care sector, particularly over the past year, GCC and the council have worked together to ensure that people who need care and support have their care needs met appropriately.

“Where needed, we help people recruit their own carers and although recruitment for care jobs can be difficult, we believe that successful recruitment can be achieved and the rate of pay is not not an obstacle to this, although it is sometimes necessary to use temporary staff during recruitment.

“The CCG and council will continue to work together to ensure people in North Tyneside with care and support needs receive the right levels of care and would like to thank all care staff for their dedication and support.”

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