Chronic underfunding exposing social care to staffing crisis ‘that threatens to overwhelm sector’
The Government is being urged to take action to tackle a staffing crisis in the care sector because of “chronic” underfunding.
Unison and the National Care Forum (NCF) have written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid warning of daily reports of a serious shortage of care workers.
They warn of a recruitment and retention emergency, which they say has been triggered by chronic underfunding leading to low wages and staff burnout.
The letter says that social care is gripped by a staffing crisis of “a magnitude that threatens to overwhelm the sector”, adding: “Care providers are already having to hand back contracts, turn down new requests for care , at home and in care homes , as a direct result of the acute shortage of workers. The Government must act now because social care matters to us all.
“This country cannot afford to lose any more care staff. Each and every one of us has a loved one who may well need their skill, support and compassion, or require help themselves eventually. Please don’t ignore this catastrophe a moment longer.”
The NCF says its research showed that nearly three-quarters of social care organisations had seen an increase in staff leaving.
Both organisations called on the Government to scrap or delay the implementation of mandatory jabs in care homes in England.
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea (pictured) said: “Care employees have been undervalued and ignored for too long, and the escalating staffing crisis is a consequence of this. It’s high time for a decent wage boost for all care workers.
“There’s been much talk but not nearly enough action on funding social care. Without extra government resources, homes will close and domiciliary care will be cut back meaning those dependent on support will suffer.”
NCF chief executive officer Vic Rayner said: “The Government must act now to ensure those who currently work in the sector feel valued and recognised by providing a retention bonus.
“Alongside this, give a clear call to those contemplating working in care that they will be recognised by increasing pay rates for all who work in care.”
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