Predicted increases in NHS pay must be matched by better funding for the independent care sector, a leading body has warned.
While welcoming reports that the Government plans to end the public sector pay freeze, the Independent Care Group said greater funding was needed in social care to avoid a worsening of the current staffing crisis.
Group Chair Mike Padgham said: “Everyone wants to see an end to austerity and if the pay freeze ends then better pay for NHS nurses is well deserved and long overdue.
“But we fear the Government might not fully see the consequences of taking this step. If it is not matched by better funding for social care, which will enable providers to compete with the NHS when it comes to recruitment, we could see the situation get worse rather than better.
“The independent sector is already experiencing its worst ever crisis in recruiting nursing staff and unless providers can match what is being offered by the NHS, the situation is going to get worse. If nursing homes cannot recruit and have to close or reduce the numbers they can take in, then that will have a very serious impact on NHS hospitals and we will see delayed discharges from hospitals get worse and worse.”
Mike said the country’s oldest and most vulnerable people had endured austerity for many, many years – from Government after Government.
Mike added social care was suffering from a major staff recruitment crisis, with 90,000 vacancies on any one day.