Health care recruiter Tribe Recruitment is calling for the government to reduce the time taken to process Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks to 48 hours, in order to ease the pressure caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Phil Crowther, CEO of the Newlands Group, which incorporates Tribe Recruitment and domiciliary care company Care Matters, has written to the minister of state for care, Helen Whately MP, highlighting the need get staff who have previously been checked into work quickly, rather than waiting up to six weeks for new checks to return.
Since the onset of the crisis, care homes have had to rely on agency staff due to absences caused by self-isolation. In order to meet the demand, more staff are required, but the length of time taken by DBS checks has left available staff unable to take up positions.
The drive launched on 25 March to get volunteers to help the NHS and care sector saw more than half a million people sign up, which could increase DBS processing times further.
Phil Crowther said: “The rules around self-isolation for those experiencing symptoms or a household exposure to COVID 19 are having a significant impact on our existing work force headcount in both companies, with high levels of absence in vital office and community-based staff.
“The current length of time taken for the DBS clearance process to complete, which is, in some cases in excess of 6 weeks, means that new and otherwise ready to work ‘key workers’ can’t be deployed to cover the severe shortages we are experiencing within this sector. This puts even more pressure on our healthy staff to work long hours.
“There are overstretched care homes calling Tribe Recruitment around the clock, seeking temporary nurses, support workers and health care assistants, and we’re desperate to help. At the same time, there are vulnerable people within their own homes who need Care Matters staff to come and assist them.
“By reducing the processing time to 48 hours, which it has been suggested is a viable request, these willing employees can get to work now, when they’re required, not in six weeks time.
“Willing staff are ready to roll up their sleeves and help at this time of great need. We need to help them get to work quickly.”