Post Brexit immigration laws including a proposed salary cap risk increasing workforce shortages, making it harder to “wash, dress and feed” thousands of elderly people who depend on daily support, says the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
In a letter sent to the London Evening Standard, Glen Garrod, president of the ADASS, which represents 152 directors of adult social services said that given the number of people working in social care that come from the EU there are now an estimated 100,000 it is likely that the sector will “struggle to cope” unless there is an “absolute guarantee” from the government that EU nationals can continue to work in the UK, without disruption.
“Our valued and dedicated workforce, which includes care workers, activities co-ordinators, personal care assistants and occupational therapists, perform essential everyday tasks to help look after our elderly and vulnerable population. This includes helping people to wash, dress and feed themselves, plus other basic care, which they simply could not do otherwise,” he said in the letter.
The funding crisis in social care, he added, had been “exacerbated by Brexit, which risks locking out future much-needed care workers due to the proposed £30,000 salary cap”.
He added: “The Government seems able to make exceptions for seasonal agricultural workers for after Brexit, but not for our year-round, increasingly under-pressure and overstretched adult social care employees,”.
“We are constantly working with our members across the country and government to try to minimise the impact of Brexit, but our call remains clear: a sustainable funding settlement for social care and a guarantee that all care workers, regardless of their nationality, can continue to come here and help fulfil these vital frontline roles.”
Commenting on the letter from ADASS, George McNamara, director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: “Arbitrarily shutting the door on dedicated social care workers from EU countries will do nothing more than perpetuate the growing staff crisis in social care.
“The government’s proposal to adopt a £30,000 minimum salary threshold would be a punishing and cold view of those who provide daily care for older people and some of the most vulnerable in society, and will only result in more people unable to access vital health and care support. Tragically, yet again, it seems that social care is the forgotten sector when it comes to policy-making.”