The chairman of the National Care Association (NCA), Nadra Ahmed OBE, has expressed concerns surrounding the crisis faced by UK care homes over staff shortages.
Speaking to ITV News on the issue of care home staff shortages, Nadra Ahmed said:
“The crisis is right now. Homes are closing now; they’re closing at this moment in time because people just don’t have the staff.”
Urging the government to address the situation, Nadra Ahmed told ministers that care homes can’t wait any longer. Moreover, she also said that care users are being let down by the government.
Staffing issues said to have been caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, have caused care homes and social care facilities to close. Previously estimating 170,000 care vacancies across England by the end of the year, the National Care Association equates this to a meltdown of the whole system, with one in ten vacant positions.
With many health and social care workers seeking better-paid jobs in the NHS—where vaccination isn’t yet mandatory, workers are now leaving the sector to typically find work in warehousing and distribution.
Reporting on the care home situation throughout the pandemic, ITV News Editor Paul Brand posted on Twitter:
“There are various causes of the crisis: pandemic burnout, carers reassessing their lives, other industries aggressively hiring, Brexit reducing migration. But low pay is at the centre of it all. Carers feel hugely undervalued. They are leaving for less emotionally draining jobs.”
Insufficient staffing levels and the ongoing recruitment struggle has seen hundreds of care managers refusing and handing back care packages.
A survey by the Institute of Health and Social Care Management (IHSCM) for social care managers explored the implications. This includes mandatory vaccines in care homes, the recruitment crisis and burnout. The survey found that nine out of ten managers said their workplace is experiencing staff shortages or difficulty recruiting. Almost half of those surveyed felt that these issues are compromising safety and care.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said:
“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the social care workforce, providers and local authorities who are working together to deliver good quality adult social care throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. We are working with local authorities and providers to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high-quality care to meet increasing demands. This includes running regular national recruitment campaigns. And providing councils with access to over £1 billion of additional funding for social care in 2021-22.”