Care Englandhas today joined with the South East Social Care Alliance (SESCA) to express significant concern at the findings of a report on the stability of the adult social care market.
Over the course of two months (May and June), SESCA invited providers across the South East to complete an online survey looking at key market stability drivers for the adult social care sector – including workforce, costs and income, future viability, and priorities moving forward.
The findings of the survey present a stark and worrying picture of the sector: funding and workforce crisis is leading to a reduction in the amount of provision available whilst also driving high levels of concern over the future viability of services. Nearly half of providers say they have considered exiting the market in the past 12 months.
Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“The report highlights the stark and worrying picture within the South East with concerning workforce trends and an increasingly bleak funding landscape increasing pressure on local providers. Providers in the South East face particular pressures from the high costs of living and housing in the region, but the reality is that these are not issues isolated to the South East. Care England would echo the recommendations of the report and call on Government to work at both a national and local level to ensure the future viability of the care sector.
Martin Green continued:
“Last week, Care England called on the Government to curb the workforce crisis as our own analysis unveiled the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the reliance on agency staff, reaching a point of unsustainability for the sector. It is now incumbent upon those at the top to go beyond the devolution of responsibility to Local Authorities and seek to stabilise the sector with a strategy and funding package that goes beyond the £500m being generated via the Health and Social Care Levy.”
The report makes a series of concerning findings:
• Staff are leaving the sector faster than providers can replace them with 83% of providers finding it more difficult to replace staff than in the past
• 38% of those leaving their role are exiting the Adult Social Care sector. Competition from other sectors / NHS, & low morale are the driving forces
• The workforce crisis is leading to a reduction in the amount of care available in the South East
• Funding increases for Local Authority / NHS- funded clients have not kept pace with actual cost increases
• 45% of providers in the South East have considered exiting the market
Erica Lockhart, Chair of The South East Social Care Alliance, says:
“The results of this survey should be a major wake-up call that action is needed now. Care Associations across the South East are becoming increasingly concerned about the continuing plight of their members. Concerns about their ability to continue operating and providing care are at very high levels and, as it stands, no support is coming – that must change.”
Rebecca Pritchard, Chief Executive of Surrey Care Association, says:
“Our members tell us they are facing unprecedented pressures with many of them genuinely concerned about the sustainability of services. Our members talk about the distress they feel when they can’t deliver the care people need. Many have seen staff leave for similar roles but better terms and conditions in the local authority or NHS or in local retail jobs. We talk about integrated care systems, but integration won’t work when there isn’t equal pay for equal work. We believe that social care should be seen as an investment in the lives and wellbeing of our communities and populations and that investment is needed urgently.”