DAMNING new figures on social care staffing highlight once again how close to the edge the sector is and the need for urgent government action, providers have said.
The Independent Care Group (ICG) says those providing care for people in their own home and in care and nursing homes are struggling to find the staff to do so.
Commenting on the Skills for Care report on the state of social care employment, ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “This is no longer anecdotal evidence and is not the social care sector crying wolf, these are the hard facts of a sector in crisis.
“The Government continues to bury its head in the sand and hope that the care staffing crisis will miraculously disappear, but it won’t, and with the compulsory vaccine coming in next month, it is going to get a whole lot worse.”
Skills for Care’s annual State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England report says employers were failing to fill 8% of posts before the pandemic. This fell to below 6% by June last year – but by August this year it was back up to 8.2% of care sector roles unfilled – more than 100,000 posts with no-one to fill them.
The ICG says compulsory vaccines could add a further 40,000 vacancies if the Government presses ahead with it in November.
Skills for Care also warns that a further 490,000 extra staff will be needed to cope with care demand by 2035.
“All of these statistics point to a sector in crisis and facing a meltdown situation where people can no longer expect to get the care they need,” Mr Padgham added.
“We know that before the pandemic some 1.5m people were living with unmet care needs – that figure is set to rocket.
“And that is our loved ones and our friends, in their own homes and in care and nursing homes, not getting the care they need – it is a national scandal.”
The ICG wants to see the Government postpone the compulsory vaccine regulation in November and urgently get more money into social care to tackle the staffing crisis.
“The simple fact is that providers cannot pay care workers what they deserve and they can earn more in less stressful work elsewhere,” Mr Padgham added.
“As a society, we have to decide how much we value the care our loved ones are being given – at the moment it appears that we don’t value it nearly enough to properly fund a social care sector that fulfils their needs.”