The Nuffield Trust, Health Foundation and King’s Fund have called for a robust, independent evaluation of the social care workforce.
In a letter to health secretary Matt Hancock, and chair of the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee Jeremy Hunt MP, the think-tank organisations have called for a clause to be added to the NHS Bill putting in place independent projections of how many health and social care staff will be in place in the future, and how many will be needed.
The organisations say that many social care staff will emerge from the pandemic exhausted and, in many cases, scarred from their experiences. They warn: “Setting unrealistic targets for the recovery of services and launching a top-down drive to meet them when staff are exhausted could be disastrous.
“The risk in terms of the morale, wellbeing and burn out of staff is significant and there is a very real risk of an exodus of staff from the service.”
The proposed social care clause in the NHS Bill would achieve annual independently verified projections of the future supply of, and demand for, social care workforce in England, for a 15-year period, consistent with the long-term projections of adult social care spending produced by the OBR.
The clause would also allow for clarity over the assumptions underpinning the projections in relation to the workforce flows from and to the other UK countries and immigration and out-migration.
Finally, the organisations call for a fully-costed workforce strategy for the next five years as part of the comprehensive plan for adult social care. The Spending Review should ensure this is fully-funded.