Plaid Cymru have called on the Welsh Government to launch a recruitment drive for carers in order to prepare for a winter spike in Covid-19 cases.
Shadow Minister Delyth Jewell MS pointed to Scotland where hundreds of new care workers were being recruited to prepare for a potential spike in Covid-19 cases.
Yesterday the Welsh Government announced that it was seeking an agreement that would top up sick pay for care workers who are having to self-isolate due to coronavirus.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething added an announcement was not imminent as details of any arrangement needed to be clarified with employers.
Delyth Jewell, however, said that the Welsh Government should be “more proactive” in putting in place concrete mechanisms to prepare for a potential spike and build public confidence.
She also said that the government needed to do more to ensure there was capacity for vulnerable people to receive care throughout a potential second spike, and to improve the working conditions of care workers who had proved themselves as “absolutely fundamental” to society.
“If we are to be prepared in the face of a potential second Covid spike in the winter months, the Welsh Government must be more proactive in putting in place concrete mechanisms to build resilience and demonstrate transparency by making the public aware of such plans.,” Delyth Jewell said.
“The carer recruitment scheme announcement in Scotland is an excellent example of such a mechanism – similar arrangements here would provide relief for a workforce hit amongst the hardest during the pandemic and would demonstrate the appreciation held for them.
“The Welsh Government needs to meet rhetoric with action by acting in the interest of this workforce which have proven themselves as absolutely fundamental to society. Let’s not forget that many care workers are still awaiting their promised bonus payment and of course will receive far less than originally promised – something has to change.
“By strengthening the care workforce the Welsh Government would not only be preparing for what’s to come, but would also give existing care workers an opportunity to utilise annual leave and have some respite after an extremely trying time.
“Working conditions have to be improved for care workers, and this could be a great first step in doing so.”