The National Care Forum (NCF), along with NCF members, has written to the Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Chancellor of the Exchequer about the staffing issues affecting social care providers.
The open letter to cabinet members calls on political leaders to offer ‘immediate support to address the serious staffing shortages.’ The letter authors argue that ‘without intervention, we fear more and more people will be unable to access the good quality care that they need and that we are dedicated to providing.’
In his speech on 7th September announcing the Government’s proposals, the Prime Minister made a commitment to ‘investing in the quality of care, in carers themselves’.
Social care providers estimate staff turnover across the sector to be in the region of 30% and rising, at a time when more and more people need care services. A recent survey of more than 2000 social care services by the National Care Forum (NCF) shows that 74% of providers have seen an increase in staff exits since April 2021 with 50% of workers leaving due to stress and 44% finding better pay elsewhere. This comes on top of serious workforce pressures pre-pandemic, with 112,000 care staff vacancies across the country and a 33% decline in social care nurses between 2012/13 and today.
Letter signatories added, ‘Not only are these workforce issues causing our services to be stretched, but they are also preventing organisations like ours from providing essential care to more people who need it. This is inevitably leading to more people having to stay in hospital unnecessarily when they are unable to access care packages and be safely discharged.’
The open letter urges the Government to take the following immediate steps:
- Offer a retention bonus to care staff, in recognition of the dedication these skilled workers have shown throughout the pandemic.
- Add care workers to the shortage occupation list for a defined period, to enable more workers from overseas to work in UK care homes with Skilled Worker visas.
- Create a wholly flexible Workforce Capacity Fund now to support immediate recruitment and retention challenges and upskilling/ training.
- Launch an effective national recruitment campaign to inspire people to join the care workforce.
- Extend the Infection Control Fund (ICF) to offer practical support to care providers as our essential work to combat COVID-19 continues.
The letter was signed by: Sam Monaghan, Chief Executive, MHA Methodist Homes, Craig Moule, Group Chief Executive, Sanctuary Group including Sanctuary Care and Sanctuary Supported Living, Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor Hanover, Dan Hayes, Chief Executive, The Orders of St John Care Trust and Vic Rayner OBE, Chief Executive, National Care Forum.
Visit the National Care Forum website for more information about its latest campaigns and policy work.
In other news, The #BetterPay4SocialCare coalition visited the steps of the HM Treasury on the 21st September, to shine a light on the rates of pay for care workers.