Chichester’s MP has helped launched a new group to look at supporting high quality social care.
Conservative Gillian Keegan will co-chair the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Care with Labour MP Louise Haigh.
The group, which held its inaugural meeting last month, will be working in Parliament to advocate for employees, employers and care recipients as well as looking at urgent issues such as funding and standards in the sector.
The APPG is aiming to publish a report on the professionalisation of care after the summer recess.
Mrs Keegan said: “The care sector struggles to attract new recruits and retain people resulting in a high staff turnover of 28 per cent. It is crucial we support high quality in-work training for people in the care sector to help them develop in their careers.
“I am hopeful that this will encourage more people into care work and encourage people to stay in the sector. I am also keen to ensure that working in care, could once again develop into a natural stepping stone for people to move into nursing.”
The importance of such a move was highlighted at a recent reception in Parliament, where she met care professionals to launch a national recruitment campaign, which aims to fill the 110,000 current vacancies across the sector.
After the APPG meeting, she added: “Over the coming decades, we will only see the demand for care increase. Ensuring social care is properly funded and well-staffed is important for everyone. I believe we all want the peace of mind that our loved ones, and maybe one day ourselves, will be cared for in our old age.
“This APPG will give the care sector a voice in Parliament and develop cross-party support when suggesting improvements that could be made.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “We welcome the formation of this important All Party Parliamentary Group. Social care is a vital public service for older people and deserves to be championed by Parliamentarians from every party.
“We look forward to working with the all party group to help improve the care our older population receives.”
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, added: “I am really excited the All Party Parliamentary Group has been set up and thank Gillian who responded to our request when she was first elected.
“Working in care is such an important job. So often we hear someone say that they are ‘just’ a carer. We need to change that by professionalising the care work sector.
“Locally we have recently launched a new website www.proudtocarewestsussex.com, dedicated to recruiting care workers in West Sussex.
“We will continue to work closely with Gillian to support the group to ensure residents of West Sussex can enjoy independence in later life.”