Call for ‘volunteer army’ as staffing levels hit crisis levels

Mike Padgham

Care home providers have issued an urgent plea for an army of volunteers to tackle the growing staff crisis in the sector.

Independent Care Group chair, Mike Padgham, (pictured) has written to the Health Secretary for a second time appealing to him to tackle the staffing crisis.

In his letter, Mike repeats his plea for the government to set up an emergency task force to help sustain care services.

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“Every day we are hearing from the operators of nursing and care homes and from homecare providers who cannot operate properly because they are so short of staff,” Mike said.

Mike’s letter came as The Guardian reported that more than 90 care home operators in England had declared a ‘red alert’ over staffing levels.

Internal health system staffing data seen by the newspaper shows over 11,000 care home workers are off due to COVID-19.

Almost 10% of staff are currently off work in England with 3% due to COVID.

The north-east, north-west and parts of London are the worst affected with absence rates ranging from 16-22%, The Guardian said.

Barchester Healthcare told us only 2% of staff were currently affected and self-isolating due to COVID-19, however, there were a small number of homes with 5-15% of staff isolating.

The care home provider said 40% (105) of its services had reported COVID outbreaks but this compared favourably to other large operators, which it said may be attributable to its “more cautious” visiting policy.

HC-One said 869 staff, or around 5% of the workforce, were off with COVID or awaiting results.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Protecting care staff and people who use social care services continues to be a priority, especially as cases surge and Omicron spreads rapidly across the country.

‘’The social care workforce, independent providers, charities and local authorities have been incredible throughout the pandemic, continuing to deliver high quality care under the most challenging circumstances.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have made almost £2.4 billion in specific funding available for adult social care and this week we announced an extra £60 million to keep people in care homes safe over January.’’

Tags : COVID-19RecruitmentStaffing

The author Lee Peart

1 Comment

  1. do away with mandatory vaccinations for nurses and care staff and make them optional and staff will remain in posst. On top of this update and bring in high level training for infection control for ALL staff in hospitals and care homes.

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