Holding hands | Nursing Home News

Care leaders lobby for staffing support in open letter to Cabinet

Five care organisations have written to Cabinet ministers to ask for “immediate support” to address serious staffing shortages across social care sector.

The letter reminds ministers of prime minister Boris Johnson’s speech on 7 September announcing the Government’s commitment to ‘investing in the quality of care, in carers themselves’.

Care leaders say: “We are clear that this investment in care workers, and therefore in the continued quality of care, must happen now.”

The organisations, MHA Methodist Homes, Sanctuary Group, Anchor Hanover, The Orders of St John Care Trust and the National Care Forum, call for the following measures:

  • Offer a retention bonus to care staff, in recognition of the dedication these skilled workers have shown throughout the pandemic
  • Add care workers to the shortage occupation list for a defined period, to enable more workers from overseas to work in UK care homes with Skilled Worker visas
  • Create a wholly flexible Workforce Capacity Fund now to support immediate recruitment & retention challenges & upskilling/ training
  • Launch an effective national recruitment campaign to inspire people to join the care workforce
  • Extend the Infection Control Fund (ICF) to offer practical support to care providers as our essential work to combat Covid-19 continues.

The organisations point out that staff turnover across the sector is estimated to be in the region of 30 per cent and rising. Furthermore, a recent survey of more than 2000 social care services by the National Care Forum (NCF) shows that 74 per cent of providers have seen an increase in staff exits since April 2021 with 50 per cent of workers leaving due to stress and 44 per cent finding better pay elsewhere. 

They add: “Recruitment and retention measures introduced in the Government’s social care proposals, to support improved pay and conditions for all care staff in the longer term… will not solve the current workforce crisis.

“This is inevitably leading to more people having to stay in hospital unnecessarily when they are unable to access care packages and be safely discharged.”

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