CALLS have been made for a pay rise for care workers in Bolton amid a worrying increase in those leaving the sector.

The National Care Forum (NCF), which represents not-for-profit providers of adult care provision, along with trade union Unison, are calling on the Health Secretary to deliver urgent action on what they describe as ‘the staffing crisis’ engulfing the social care sector.

The joint letter to Sajid Javid says a care staff recruitment and retention emergency has been triggered by chronic underfunding of the social care sector in England leading to low wages for care workers, and staff burnout.

Cllr Sue Haworth is Labour’s shadow adult services cabinet member on Bolton Council.

Earlier this year Bolton Council passed a motion calling for £1.4bn of government investment in care workers pay, training and support.

She said: “The government has just released £162.5m of new funding for the care sector but this is not backed by any long-term plan to fix the problem of how older adults and disabled people will get the care that they need in the years ahead.

“We have above the average number of disabled people in Bolton and numbers of older adults in the borough are growing year on year.

“The government must provide a long-term solution and back the care sector ensuring that those who currently work in the sector feel valued and much better recognised by increasing care worker pay rates.

“We are calling for a 10-year plan of investment and reform including a new deal for care workers that will transform their pay, sweep in quality training and improve care workers’ terms and conditions of employment.

“Social care is an area with high employment levels of women who need justice on pay. There is an urgent situation of a lack of staff for care homes and the care sector that has arisen. ”

Figures from a ​NCF survey reveal nearly three quarters of respondents had seen an increase in staff leaving, and 46 per cent said employees were leaving the sector.

The union estimates this is on top of a pre-existing vacancy rate of 105,000.

The calls come as the government launched a three-week TV advertising campaign to recruit care workers earlier this week to help fill 105,000 vacancies.

Mr Javid said: “Care workers have done a phenomenal job throughout the pandemic, in difficult circumstances, and I thank them for all they have done. A career in social care is rewarding and inspiring. Over the next three years we are investing at least £500m to support the training and development for carers.

“We need more people who possess the core values this workforce embody so strongly - kindness, compassion and resilience - to look after our friends and family with dignity and respect."