DEMENTIA CARE & NURSING HOME EXPO: Skills for Care lays bare social care workforce challenges

Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen has laid bare the recruitment challenges facing care home providers in England.

Speaking at the Dementia Care & Nursing Home Expo yesterday, Sharon said that the supply of nurses to the sector had dropped during a time of increasing need.

Sharon said: “The issue of having sufficient, qualified and competent nurses to provide the clinical interventions that are needed is very real.”

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The Skills for Care highlighted the 8,000 drop in the number of registered nurses in social care between 2012/13 and 2016/17 to 43,000, currently.

There are currently 90,000 vacancies in the sector, representing 9% of the workforce.

Turnover, meanwhile, has increased to 32.1% in 2016/17 from 27.2% from in 2012/13.

Sharon said the decline in nurses was taking place when the country was facing the prospect of a 36% increase in the number of people aged over 65 to 13.25m by 2030.

The Skills for Care CEO highlighted pay as an area that was particularly impacting the sector with the average carer earning £27,900 in the independent sector or equivalent to NHS Band 5.

She said the sector could not compete with the learning and development and pension opportunities offered by the NHS and would have to find other ways of attracting people, including sharing the autonomous opportunities of working with residents.

Sharon highlighted a number of Skills for Care initiatives designed to boost social care recruitment.

These include a Health Education England return to practice initiative designed to encourage people back into the sector, a nursing associate programme, promoting the importance of nursing roles in adult social care and the launch of a new professional leadership scheme.

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