With just a year to go until Brexit, a learning disabilities charity is calling for greater clarity around the impact on the social care sector, as it is estimated that the cost of replacing staff could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds for providers.
Independent research published by Hft, a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, calculated it would cost on average £137,000 per organisation to replace staff as a result of the United Kingdom departing the European Union.
The Sector Pulse Check research was conducted by independent economics and business consultancy Cebr on behalf of Hft. It is the first of its kind to focus primarily on learning disability providers.
The survey results, combined with other recent estimates by the Department of Health showing that as many as 92,000 non-British EU nationals work in social care[i], has prompted Hft to raise concerns over the lack of any concrete proposals over the future of the sector post-Brexit.
The Sector Pulse Check research also highlighted that 77% of respondents said that they had concerns over the impact of Brexit on the sector. Of the concerns raised by providers, 27% believed their main challenge would be losing staff from overseas. A further 17% were worried that there would be a lack of suitable candidates from Britain.
Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Hft, commented: “With one year to go, we still don’t fully know what the impact will be on the care of some of the most vulnerable adults on society. As we have seen from the NHS, it seems likely that we will lose overseas workers from services. The £137,000 cost of replacing them is another burden upon the sector at a time when we are already facing conflicting financial pressures and an ongoing recruitment crisis.
“We ask for the Government to provide clarity to the sector on how it plans to Brexit-proof the sector, and ensure that the quality of care provided to those supported by the sector will not fall below pre-Brexit levels.”
The Sector Pulse Research follows on from Hft and Cebr’s first published report It Doesn’t Add Up: The Financial Crisis Crippling The Social Care Sector, which examined the impact of financial pressures on the viability of the adult social care sector. Published in December 2016, the research warned that without additional funding as many as 30,000 jobs in the learning disability sector – 10% of the workforce – could be at risk in the next four years.
To read Hft’s Sector Pulse Check research please visit: www.hft.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Survey-analysis-of-the-care-sector-December-2017.pdf