EXCLUSIVE: Avery boss slams agency wage costs 

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Avery Healthcare’s managing director John Strowbridge has said the care sector’s dependency on recruitment agencies has become a major additional cost burden.

The managing director told Care Home Professional that the difficulty in attracting care workers had made the sector overly dependent on recruitment agencies.

Mr Strowbridge said: “The most profitable home is the one that uses the least agency because the use of agency staff has become endemic in the sector and that has caused one of the main pressures on our margins because we are now finding that we have to pay double the amount for agency staff.”

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The Avery boss said staff had “worked out” that care home operators provide a premium to recruitment agencies and that some of this could be paid back down to them.

“They [the agencies] have  the care sector in a difficult position and they are doing it as we know very aggressively at the NHS as well,” Mr Strowbridge said.

“The industry hasn’t found the way yet to pull back in agency costs. If we had to put all our staff at the rate we pay the agency we’d be shutting the door.”

The Avery managing director added that while it is important that the care sector supported the National Minimum Wage, the introduction of the Living Wage had caused “some issues” and called on the Government to give some consideration to operator pressures before making its next increase.

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