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Scottish Care looks to the future for social care nursing

True person-centred approaches to care means understanding where quality improvement is needed, how to be more prepared for future pandemics, and how to recruit and retain talent, according to an independent sector insight report from Scottish Care.

The report, ‘A Look to the Future – Achieving the Nursing Vision  warns that post-Pandemic there are very real concerns that care homes will be over-clinicalised and treated as an extension of the NHS. Quality improvements need to be achieved whilst recognising the unique social care context of a nursing care home environment, says sector representative Scottish Care.  

The report argues for parity of recognition for, and development of, staff skills in residential social care.   

Presently, an estimated 4,550 nurses work in care homes for adults, of which 4,530 are private and voluntary. Nurse agencies employ 2,490 individuals. Vacancy levels are at a high level, with average agency costs ranging from £324 – £379 per 12-hour daytime shift and up to £445 on the weekend, based on internal provider figures. Night-time shifts have a similar cost range, although increase up to £490 for a weekend night shift.

In the survey of 372 care homes in Scotland, 71 of respondents reported difficulties filling vacancies to registered nurse roles.

Top reasons cited include:

  • Insufficient supply of nurses
  • Better opportunities elsewhere
  • Pay

Additional findings on recruitment include:

  • A third of respondents stated they also recruit nurses from and outside the EU, in addition to UK recruitment
  • Fewer than 10 per cent of carers who were previously registered nurses said they were interested in returning to practice
  • Almost half of nurse leavers that went to the NHS (45 per cent), or to other independent social care settings (32 per cent).

In terms of feeling more valued in the workplace respondents highlighted interventions including more peer-to-peer support and professional recognition.  In Scotland, preceptorship supports the induction and nurturing of newly qualified individuals but respondents felt that current preceptorship systems do not always provide sufficient training to preceptors, nor sufficient constructive feedback.

In addition, the report advocates vocational nursing degrees to help people to continue to earn an income while studying over a longer period.  

Scottish Care comments: “Social care nursing requires distinct expertise; nurses fulfil a complex and multi-faceted role. It is time that our social care workforce is provided with parity of pay, terms and conditions, and are seen with equal value to NHS colleagues to have sustainable and inclusive growth.”

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