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Care provider appeals for more staff amidst Omicron crisis

Neil Russell

Specialist care provider, PJ Care, has appealed for more staff as members of its finance and management team have been forced to cover shifts due to the Omicron virus.

PJ Care, which runs three specialist care centres for people with a range of conditions, including acquired brain injury, dementia and Huntington’s Disease, has seen members of its finance team and senior managers go back to the floor to cover care shifts as 10% of staff are self-isolating or off sick due to the virus.

“While we’re in a better situation than at the start of the pandemic, when we saw a sudden loss of 20% of our staff, we do need additional people to keep staffing levels at where we want them to be,” said Neil Russell, chair of PJ Care (pictured).

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“We have optimum staff numbers for each unit, which are well above the number we need to operate safely, and we want to maintain those levels wherever possible so the quality of life for our residents isn’t affected.”

PJ Care recently lost 4% of its staff, and 87 years of experience, due to the required compulsory vaccinations, and could lose a further 15 when the self-exemption scheme comes to an end in March.

As a result, the company has initiated a major recruitment campaign in the local areas to its care centres in Peterborough and Milton Keynes.

But as that is an ongoing process, staff in the finance and procurement team have been working shifts as healthcare assistants in recent weeks.

Maria Chiriac, who works as an accountant, said she’s been happy to help.

“I started with PJ Care as a healthcare assistant, so I have the skills and I’m more than happy to go where they need me,” she said. “It’s obviously not an ideal situation but I’ve enjoyed having contact with the residents again and, as a close-knit organisation, we all do our bit when the call comes.”

PJ Care is also offering incentives to care staff who are covering shifts – and they could almost double their hourly wage to £19 thanks to a new supplement.

“Every member of our wider team is working extra hours to help provide cover, whether it be a couple of hours here and there or picking up lots of extra shifts,” added.

“The commitment and care being shown by our staff is incredible and we cannot thank them enough, but we are looking for others to come in and support them, so they can have a break. We must remember that our staff need to look after themselves in the same way that they care for our residents.”

 

Tags : COVID-19PJ CareRecruitment
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