The Outstanding Manager Network, which represents more than 5,700 care managers, sent a letter to the Health and Social Care Committee this week expressing concern about the current state of the social care sector.
Key areas highlighted in the letter included concerns over the safety and sustainability of services, the recruitment crisis facing the sector, workforce burnout, pay and urgent call for reform. Letter signatories, Jane Brightman and Judith Vernalls note the recruitment crisis will be heightened when the mandatory vaccination law comes into force on 11th November ̶ they predict that 10-20% of staff will be dismissed as a result.
The letter draws the Government’s attention to the ‘workforce burnout and resilience inquiry’ and calls for action from the Government, saying, ‘The Government’s response to this inquiry is now overdue and we feel strongly that things have become worse, no sign of improvement.’
There are big concerns over safety in general. According to the letter authors, ‘care workers have had to pick up clinical tasks during the pandemic with little to no training and support’ and added that ‘with serious staff shortages, some care providers are concerned that they are not operating at safe levels to do the basic care.’
The letter signatories emphasised that the letter is not about pay and funding but said that there is still no funding agreement or reform in sight.
Jane Brightman, of The Outstanding Manager Network, said, ‘With nearly 6000 care managers in the network, we are seeing the stress of the pandemic and now the recruitment crisis is taking its toll on mental health. The stories are real, ongoing and heart-breaking. I’m pro-vaccines but I feel strongly that now is not the right time to mandate them in care homes. We are creating a perfect storm that we have no idea about. There is little accurate data and as we move into autumn and winter, I’m worried about the safety and stability of social care. Care managers only receive guidance, not support, and that needs to change. This is why we’ve called on the Health and Social Care Select Committee to open an inquiry.’
Mark Topps, Social Care campaigner and advocate, said, ‘This letter to the Health and Social Care Select Committee is a great thing for the sector. It represents the views of close to 6000 managers in this network. However, in every meeting I have attended recently, and within every network I am involved in, this is a common theme. We are losing skilled and knowledgeable managers and care staff every day from the sector and due to the recruitment crisis, we are unable to replace them quick enough. If the Government do not do something soon, this crisis is going to be beyond repair and the end result will be that the most vulnerable people within our society are going to be left struggling to cope on their own.’
You can read the letter sent on behalf of social care managers in full here.
The Skills for Care campaign, #RecruitmentReady is running throughout August and September. The activity ties into the organisation’s ‘recruit’ work, which aims to provide ‘support to find and keep the right people.’