Care homes and social care services could face a staffing "black hole" because of the impact of the government's immigration bill, The Cavendish Coalition have warned.
The Cavendish Coalition, a group of 37 organisations from across the UK who are committed to helping the UK Government design and deliver post-Brexit policies that have a positive impact on the UK’s health and social care system have written to the Prime Minister to set out its ‘grave concern’ about the current immigration proposals, saying that they could have a damaging impact on the sector and the people who rely on its services, particularly as the country heads towards what is expected to be a challenging winter while dealing with the ongoing threat of coronavirus.
The immigration bill, which has cleared its stages in the House of Commons, would see the end of free movement with the European Union in favour of a points-based immigration system that currently does not include social care as the roles do not pass the proposed minimum salary threshold and are not classed as a shortage occupation.
In the letter, the Cavendish Coalition states, “For a sector where one in six are foreign nationals and which is struggling with 122,000 vacancies in England alone it would be unwise to believe that domestic recruitment will solve all social care’s immediate problems. Indeed, a recent survey of health and care workers found that one in five are likely to leave their roles following the pandemic.”
Danny Mortimer, co-convenor of the Cavendish Coalition and chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“The Government has undermined the vital role of social care in its proposed points-based system for immigration, which will effectively turn the tap off international recruitment in an instant and create a staffing blackhole at a time when these services are expected to more stretched than ever before.
“And if social care suffers, so will the NHS with understaffed services likely to lead to a very real risk of hospital beds becoming filled during winter as the NHS attempts to pick itself up and resume services that it had to pause because of the initial phase of the virus.
“It is critical that the Government ensure a transitional solution is in place for social care in January 2021 to navigate the gap between the introduction of the new immigration system and a longer term plan and funding settlement for social care in England
“Currently, we are heading towards an alarming destination with no immediate solution and so, we are urging the Prime Minister to act.”