Tuesday, 23 April 2024
Tuesday, 23 April 2024

People won’t get the care they need due to unprecedented vacancy rates

EXCESSIVELY high vacancy rates in the adult social care sector will have profound consequences for those relying on care as they will not always receive the support they need, while providers will be placed under huge financial strain as they are forced to use costly agency staff.

Teresa Parker, interim Chief Care and Support Officer at national learning disability charity Hft said:

“Working in social care is a vital and hugely rewarding role, yet the annual Skills for Care report, recently published, highlights the burning need to attract more people to work in this sector.”

The Skills for Care data highlights vacancy rates in the social care sector of nearly 11%, reflecting similar data from Hft’s Sector Pulse Check report, published earlier this year, which revealed an average vacancy rate of 16% among learning disability care providers in 2021.

Providers overwhelmingly feel that increased pay would have the biggest impact on recruitment and retention, and it is clear they have taken steps to address this. New Skills for Care data highlights that employers increased wages for support staff in cash terms by 5.4% in 2021-22 – the second-highest annual rise since 2012-13.

However, this was outstripped by inflation, meaning the average employee working in the independent sector saw their pay fall by 1.5% during the year.

These statistics were published alongside research from The Health Fund which found that, even before the cost of living crisis hit, one in five residential care workers in the UK was living in poverty.

Ms Parker continued:

“The government must take action now to support our social care sector to address the recruitment and retention crisis as we head into a difficult winter.

“Hft would like to see decisive steps taken to ensure local authorities receive sufficient funding to pay providers the true cost of care in the long term, including wages for our invaluable staff which reflect the real cost of living.

“We implore the Chancellor to take the opportunity to address this at his next fiscal statement at the end of the month so the social care sector, those employed within it, and people with a learning disability who rely upon it, can live and work with confidence over the coming months and years.”


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