By Bethany Hemsley
Scotland’s front line care workers are being asked to tell the “whole story” of their experience during COVID-19 in a research project supported by the UWS-Oxfam Partnership.
Researchers are hoping to be a voice for the long-standing systematic problems of low pay, stressful work and difficult recruitment, as well as gaining insight into the recent positive and negative experiences of frontline workers during the pandemic.
COVID-19 has brought attention to the reality that social care workers are undervalued, under-recognised and that there is a lack of investment in care institutions.
The research project will centre around the concept of ‘decent work’ – which includes fair income, jobs security and personal development – and will use confidential phone or video interviews with frontline workers to identify the potential for greater ‘decent work’ in the future.
Study co-leader Dr Stephen Gibb, of the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) said: “For all the widely covered challenges which the social care workforce has faced during the coronavirus pandemic, there are also opportunities for change”.
He adds: “Change to more integrated health and social care can only deliver better quality if the workforce has more ‘decent work’. We are hearing that many care workers in the sector felt abandoned throughout the pandemic but we are also hearing that the pandemic has brought local managers, workers and residents in care homes closer together”.
“To influence policy and plans for Scotland’s social care sector going forward, we need to hear the whole story from the front line.”
The research project aims for long term policy and perceptual change for the social care sector.