Ministers ‘can no longer ignore the crisis engulfing’ care, Lib Dem MP warns

The care sector is facing a workforce shortage that is “getting worse”, a Lib Dem MP has warned, as she called for a “coherent strategy” on recruitment and retention.

Helen Morgan (pictured), MP for North Shropshire said vacancy numbers had “sky rocketed” despite Government “having promised to sort out social care on numerous occasions”.

She told the Commons: “We can no longer ignore the crisis engulfing the care sector and the impact that a shortage of care workers and well supported unpaid carers will have on those who are most in need.”

She added: “In only the last few years the number of vacancies has sky rocketed to 165,000, not only is this a vast number, but the situation is getting worse.

“Over one in 10 posts are now empty with the vacancy rate having risen from 7% to 10.7% between 2021 and 2022.”

A care workers employment strategy, she said, “should be the top priority of the Government and not just any strategy, but a workable one, fit for the future and to be appropriately adapted as circumstances”.

Such a strategy, she said, “needs to identify the causes of poor retention and slow recruitment and it needs to be brave enough to tackle the importance of pay”.

The Lib Dems, she said, had suggested the introduction of a carers’ minimum wage, adding: “Caring is not only a skilled job, but one in which compassion, respect, friendship and companionship is also hugely important.”

Setting up an independent national care workers council would, she said, “establish not only minimum professional standards of care throughout the country, but a system for the professional qualification and accreditation for care workers”.

Unpaid carers she said “contribute a huge amount to the economy which is unrecognised”, adding her Bill would “require the Secretary of State to commission an independent assessment of the support available to all unpaid carers”.

Her Carers and Care Workers Bill was earmarked for a second reading on Friday November 24, but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

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