The National Care Forum (NCF) has submitted its response to the Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry into the health and care workforce.
The inquiry is seeking evidence to ascertain the reasons behind staff leaving the health and care sectors and how to tackle them, in addition to exploring workforce recruitment and training.
Among some of the recommendations in its submission, the NCF is asking for:
- Immediate action to improve the pay and recognition of the workforce, including a loyalty bonus for current care staff.
- Better learning and development opportunities, developing clearly defined pathways and training, supported by consistent investment that will enable employers to attract and retain the right people.
- Making the Care Certificate mandatory, accredited and fully portable.
- A fully funded People Plan for Social Care.
- Joined-up approaches by ICS, LAs and CCGs and providers to the international recruitment of health and care staff now.
- Upskilling the workforce with digital skills and competencies.
- Transforming the way that future health and care professionals are trained.
- Action now on the Health and Social Care Bill to require the Government to report on workforce planning for both the health and social care workforce.
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF said, ‘For months now, the National Care Forum has been warning of a staffing crisis in social care as reported by our members. Providers responding to our most recent survey in January 2022 reported evidence of a deteriorating situation, with 18% vacancy rate and a further 14% absence because of the Omicron variant.
‘This data is backed up by ADASS’s winter contingency survey which has found that 49 local authorities are now rationing the care services they commission or taking a number of other exceptional measures, due to staffing shortages.’
The NCF said a joined-up approach to the health and care workforce is essential and the Government needs to take action on that now and ensure future commitment to it by including this in the Health and Social Care Bill currently going through Parliament. The CEO commented that ‘better pay is essential to solving the recruitment and retention problems in social care.’
Vic Rayner added, ‘This inquiry should not focus on the NHS to the exclusion of social care – the inquiry must make space for consideration of develop the future army of care staff that the country is going to need and the understanding that these roles are skilled roles that need to be recognised, supported and developed for future need. We need a system-wide approach to planning and delivering staffing levels.’
Visit the ADASS website to read the full results of the ADASS survey.
In other news, the NHS has launched a new landmark campaign this week, using the iconic Beatles song ‘Help!’ to get the nation taking better care of their mental health.