Care providers fear they may soon not have enough staff to care for the country’s oldest and most vulnerable as a recruitment crisis depends.
Provider organisation the Independent Care Group (ICG) is calling for Government help as the number of people needing care continues to rise.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “We are approaching crisis point where there simply won’t be enough people to go out and provide care to people at home and to those living in care and nursing homes.
“Care providers are facing a daily battle to cover home calls and care home shifts and it can’t go on. We need short-term measures to support care providers and of course a long-term plan to reform care and tackle the underlying causes of the long-standing staffing shortage.”
Providers say an already dire staffing shortage – some 120,000 vacancies – has been exacerbated by Covid-19.
Staff sickness and those isolating has been followed by a loss of staff to the sector due to plans to force all employees to have the vaccine. The end of freedom of movement after Brexit has also cut off a valuable source of recruitment for the sector.
“All of this comes at a time when we know demand for care is rising and occupancy levels are recovering slowly after the pandemic,” Mr Padgham added.
“It is a perfect storm of rising demand and falling supply and the people who are going to suffer are those vulnerable people who need the care. We are getting good support here in North Yorkshire, from our local authority and the CCGs, but we need more to be done by Government to support the sector.
“We know there are at least 1.5m people who cannot get the care they need and we should be addressing that. Instead, we are struggling to keep our heads above water. Without urgent help we are going to see care levels fall and more people going without.”
The ICG has repeatedly called for reform and was furious after reported plans to begin it were delayed until the autumn.
“We need the Government to set a date for reform and stick to it, otherwise this is going to go on and on and reform will never come,” Mr Padgham added.
The ICG has long campaigned for:
- A root and branch overhaul of the way social care is planned and funded
- NHS care and social care to be merged and managed either locally or nationally
- Extra funding for social care, funded by taxation or National Insurance
- Dementia treated like other high priority illnesses, like cancer and heart disease
- A fixed percentage of GDP to be spent on social care
- Social care businesses to be zero-rated for VAT.