The Liberal Democrats are calling for a higher minimum wage for care workers in Leicestershire, to tackle chronic staff shortages in social care.
It comes as the latest figures reveal Leicestershire has 1,168 job vacancies in the social care sector, meaning there is a vacancy rate of around 7.5%.
These chronic staff shortages are leading to patients being left stuck in hospitals waiting for social care, contributing to record-breaking waits in A&E and dangerous ambulance delays.
Under the Liberal Democrat plans, social care workers would be paid at least £2 an hour more than the current minimum wage, bringing their pay up to at least £11.50 an hour today - and £12.42 from this April. The proposals would benefit up to 15,000 people working in the social care sector in Leicestershire
Commenting, Leader of Leicestershire Liberal Democrat County Councillors Michael Mullaney said:
"The social care crisis is having a devastating impact vulnerable people's wellbeing, and contributing to record long waits at A&E and terrible ambulance delays in our area.
"Too many people in Leicestershire are stranded in hospital beds because there simply aren't enough care workers to look after them at home or in a care home.
"The first step to fixing this mess is to pay those working in social care more, to prevent the exodus of workers to supermarkets and other better paid jobs. I have seen first-hand the incredible job that care workers do day in and day out. This is a skilled and crucial job and it should be paid more. Some years ago I worked as a care worker for elderly people and I understand what an essential job care workers do". "
Commenting, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey added:
"It is heart-breaking that millions of elderly and vulnerable people across the country are struggling to get the care they need and deserve. Our NHS is collapsing and social care is completely broken after years of broken Conservative promises.
"The Conservatives' neglect of social care services has caused an exodus of staff to better paying jobs. Our plan for a Carer's Minimum Wage would tackle these chronic staff shortages in social care, and help take pressure off the NHS."