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Nine out of ten Scottish social workers consider quitting

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Nine out of ten Scottish social workers consider quitting

Nine out of ten Scottish social workers are considering leaving their jobs, according to a UNISON survey.

In a new report, Save from Harm, UNISON found that two thirds of staff had experienced physical or verbal abuse at work while almost a third of respondents rated their stress as either nine or ten out of ten.

But while a 2016 Audit Scotland report suggested social work services needed a 16-21 per cent increase in funding to cope with growing demand, the union warned that severe underfunding had created a “social work crisis”.

John Watson, a social worker, and member of UNISON’s social work issues group, said: “Social work teams are so under-resourced that we now spend the majority of our time reacting to problems rather than preventing them. This is not the kind of service that people deserve and it only ends up costing more and putting further strain on other public services such as NHS, police and schools.

“Staff are working through breaks and staying late in order to protect service users, which is having a terrible impact on their own health and personal lives. We need proper funding put in place for these vital services and urgent action to prevent violence in the workplace.”

The report found just 31 per cent of respondents would recommend social work teams as a place to work, while there are 176 fewer social workers and 605 fewer business support staff than last year.

Meanwhile 76 per cent of respondents stated their teams did not have enough staff.

Joe Lynch, UNISON regional organiser, said: “This is a damning report which shows our social work services have reached breaking point. Our dedicated staff are going above and beyond to support the public but they are under enormous pressure with heavier workloads and too few staff.

“They feel exhausted, undervalued and suffer violence regularly. Social work teams are severely underfunded and we are facing a social work crisis. The dedicated people working in our social work teams deserve better and so do the people who rely upon them.”

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