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22nd November 2021

Inside The Care Crisis with Ed Balls, Episode 2 – The Domiciliary Care Angle

Abi Spence gives her verdict on the final episode and finds herself screaming at Ed.

I’m sat down for round two of the Ed Balls Inside the Care Crisis programme.

There’s no suspense here. It is, however, a mirror of the daily struggles many providers face.

The Focus

Episode 2 focuses on individuals who are looked after in their own homes (I didn’t see that one coming).

We pan to Ed meeting the charity ‘Caring Connections’ who support over 100 clients in their own homes.

Ed is pretty sure he’s got all the moves as he’s done a couple of days in a residential setting...but he’s been introduced to the idea that domiciliary care is different to residential. You are on your own.

Training Ed

Our Ed gets some basic medical training. His face drops as Christina, working in domiciliary care for over 30 years, gets out the dummy for CPR and mentions a member of staff had to use resuscitation just a week ago on a client.

As quick as a flash Ed is trained and has a client list with 16 people to visit. The manager assures him he is sure he will be fine and off he goes.

Meeting John

We meet John a stoic carer who has been working in care for 30 years. His previous job was a bouncer. Keeping people on their best behaviour in nightclubs pays a higher wage but John tells us he has a connection with the people he supports.

Where is this going? No money and lots of work

The structure of the show is all mapped out now. I know where this is going. We watch Ed struggle with the number of visits and understand the vulnerability of being cared for at home. Ed is visibly tired after his day. He describes it as ‘relentless’.

Pay Disparity

And then it hits Ed…these carers aren’t being paid for the driving between homes. I confess to shouting at the TV…’ Ed you must have known all this you’ve had a constituency!

He’s chatting now to the Dom Care Manager ‘So when I was a cabinet minister – I let you down a bit.’ A BIT ED?! The manager gives an awkward smile…‘possibly’.

Awkward Exchange

We are whizzed to London to witness an awkward exchange between an Adult of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) representative and the Domiciliary care manager with Ed facilitating.

We know how this one goes don’t we? We need more money. We want to give you more money…we don’t have any money.

Heart-breaking Watch

The bit that grips me, beyond the tragic state of social care, is when we get a glimpse of an unpaid family carer caring for someone who they love, and cannot rescue from their illness.

We saw two situations of devotion, which cost both families dearly as those carers gave up their day-to-day lives and occupations for their loved one’s care.

Positive Steps

We are guided to Shaheed who looked after his mother. Giving up work and feeling the cultural pressure whilst his mother was alive and needing support. It was fantastic to see the Imam speaking about the issues to destigmatise illness and care.

Take Home Point

The take home point for me was that organised care should be inclusive for all, giving the cultural care which enables families to let go when they cannot offer the support their loved one needs. We should also reward professional carers with decent pay and manageable hours to show the value we place in such an important role.

So, Ed is done, and with reflection and a little interaction with his wife…where they failed to agree. This is your round up of Episode 2.

Related Stories

Nothing new for care workers, but at least it shines a lot on what they do -

Want to watch Inside the Care Crisis with Ed Balls? Head to BBC iPlayer now -

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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