Pressure is rising across the health and social care system from A&E to care homes due to the deepening social care workforce crisis.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The latest Skills for Care, Social Care Workforce Data shows that vacancies have nearly doubled in the past year, with one in ten social care posts unfilled – a shortage of about 160,000 staff.

This social care workforce crisis has forced care homes to reduce capacity to ensure safe staffing levels, with nearly half of all care homes (40%) refusing to take on new admissions and two thirds of home care providers (66%) refusing requests according to a recent survey carried out by the National Care Forum.

This has resulted in 20,000 people, who are medically fit to return home or to other community settings, being unable to be discharged from hospitals. This is putting unprecedented pressure on the NHS, the likes of which many NHS trusts have never seen.

Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, told The Times: “Trust leaders are telling us this is the longest and most sustained period of NHS pressure they have seen in their careers.

“A big concern is the fact that 20,000 people who are medically fit to return home or to other community settings can’t be discharged from hospitals.

“The significantly increased pressure we have seen in the social care sector over the last few months, deepening social care workforce problems and the government’s continued to failure to adequately support the social care sector financially are all part of the problem here.”

What is causing the Social Care Workforce Crisis?

Over 400,000 (410,000) staff have left the social care sector over the last year. The Times believe that widespread labour shortages and the cost of living crisis means staff are being lured to jobs in supermarkets with higher wages or to companies such as Amazon who are offering up to £3,000 “golden handshakes”.

Mike Padgham, Chairman of the Independent Care Group told The Times: ....recruiting and retaining staff is a “constant battle” that can only be resolved with an injection of funding so homes can offer higher pay.

He added: “It was always a problem but it’s become even worse during the pandemic. We’ve lost staff to retail, to the NHS, to hospitality. Without better pay, social care cannot compete with these sectors. We can’t afford to offer £1,000 golden hellos like Amazon.

“The cost of living crisis is exacerbating it. When you’re on low pay and the basic costs of energy and food are going up, you want to have enough to bring up a family and have a holiday.

“It’s not complicated to solve — money needs to be put into social care so there can be better pay. But the government seems hell bent on putting the NHS first.

“If the government want to solve the backlog, hospitals need to be able to discharge into care homes or they get overloaded. At the moment care homes have empty beds but they don’t have the staff to take new patients. It is a vicious circle.”

If you are struggling with your social care vacancies, please get in touch. We supply fully compliant, experienced Care Assistants and Support Workers to residential, nursing and community settings across Staffordshire, Shropshire and The West Midlands.

Established in 2009 we have become the first choice Health & Social Care Agency for job seekers and employers throughout the region.

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