Friday, 19 April 2024
Friday, 19 April 2024

A workforce plan for social care would help solve the recruitment crisis, says Hft

LEARNING disability charity Hft has responded to new data from Skills for Care on the size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.

Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft, said:

“Today’s new data on the social care workforce substantiates findings from our very own Sector Pulse Check, released in partnership with Care England, and confirms that our sector continues to face huge workforce challenges.

“While it is positive that the number of vacancies has fallen by 7%, this is just a drop in the ocean and we should not underestimate the impact of the estimated 152,000 vacancies that remain across our sector.

“According to the most recent Sector Pulse Check, high staff vacancies meant that over half of providers across the adult social care sector had to turn down admissions, while nearly a fifth were forced to close services. This illustrates the profound impact of vacancies on our ability to respond to the need of people who require support.”

Skills for Care’s new research also found that international recruitment in the sector has increased, from 20,000 to 70,000, in the past year.

Ms Matthews continued:

“It is true that substantially more care providers are using international recruitment to help alleviate workforce challenges and the number of international recruits has increased largely as a result of care workers being added to the shortage occupation list in February 2022.

“While this was a welcome policy, there are a raft of issues affecting the ability of providers, particularly smaller or geographically fragmented organisations, to recruit eligible candidates from overseas. The requirement to pay higher rates in the midst of significant financial constraints, bureaucratic and time-consuming processes to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship, and costly legal services associated with visa applications remain barriers to increasing the number of international recruits.

“The Government have pledged to simplify processes around international recruitment but the impact remains to be seen, particularly for adult social care providers who employ few people or whose services are geographically diverse.

“Fundamentally, the new data from Skills for Care provides further evidence that urgent action to address challenges across the social care workforce is necessary.  

“Rather than cutting investment in this invaluable workforce, as has happened recently, we support calls from Skills for Care for a social care workforce plan, similar to that which has been published for the NHS.

“It is time the Government takes social care seriously, improves terms and conditions, remunerates staff properly and fairly, and ensures vacancies are dramatically reduced.”

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