THAT there is a continuing crisis in adult social care recruitment is probably inevitable given the general perception that the work involved is undervalued , under-trained and underpaid.

I have been involved in adult social care, at different times, for nearly 40 years and these perceptions have resonated throughout that time.

But as demand for services is obviously increasing at a faster rate than staff are being recruited, and as importantly, being retained, the issue is becoming more critical.

There are actually agencies locally and across the country that offer good hourly rates, enhanced weekend rates, bank holiday rates, holiday pay and loyalty schemes.

The working hours are very flexible to fit in with other commitments, relevant on the job training and continuing training, and the opportunity to work in diverse environments and forming real relationships with service users.

It has been very rare for me across the years to feel that the work I have done has been undervalued by either the service user or their family. And I suspect that there are many out there who have a lot of life skills and empathy that would make them good carers.

On a broader level, local authorities who commission a significant proportion of social care routinely pay less than the costs in providing that care, a system that includes the unloved 'pay per minute'.

The care sector should not be viewed as something that is outside of and inferior to the health system, we are very much integral to it. We are essentially the foot soldiers of health and welfare.

Perhaps there is a case for more clinical training for those carers who wish to do so, in wound management, dip tests, taking blood samples which could relieve some pressure on community nurses.

Too many paramedics crews are called out to elderly patients who have falls at home.

Often there is no injury assessed but if temporary respite care is needed they have no option but to process this through A&E. If care homes had one or two beds allocated specifically to meet this need than A&E can be relieved of this pressure.

There are of course many other issues involved in the provision of health and social care. And this is not about the blame game, passing the buck, or just about money.

I think its about thinking differently.

Yours sincerely

Teresa Czapska