Care leaders have urged the government to set out a clear strategy for Brexit talks to limit any adverse impact on workforce recruitment and costs.
Operators told Care Home Professional that it is too early to say what the full implications of the Brexit vote will be on their staff.
Johanna Fitzgerald, director of operations – South at Runwood Homes, said: “I believe at this time recruiting the necessary qualified migrant workforce for the NHS and social care will need a robust strategy as well as long term strategy from the government in investing in social care to ensure that providers of care are supported in providing a fair price for care whilst being able to continue to meet the living wage required.”
Aidan Roche, managing director of Signature Senior Lifestyle, called on the government to ensure citizenship for the 80,000 EU nationals who account for 6% of the sector’s workforce as well as ensuring minimum barriers for new EU migrants.
Nadra Ahmed OE, chair of the National Care Association, said: “We are really concerned about this. It is a concern that we do not yet understand the full impact of Brexit on our sector at a time when we are already struggling with recruitment.”
The comments followed a report by Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) which predicted a potential shortfall of one million workers in the sector by 2037 in the event of a ‘hard exit’ limiting freedom of movement (see Brexit threat to care workforce).
Professor Martin Green, chair of ILC-UK, said: “The government needs to clearly understand the implications of BREXIT for both social care and health, and they need to put in place a clear strategy to ensure that the sector has access to the staff that will be needed to support the growing number of people who need care and support, both now, and in the future.”
Al-karim Kachra, finance director of Country Court Care, added: “It is too early to tell what the outcome will be. Uncertainty is never good for all those involved so we will continue to be cautious until there is further clarity on the affects of Brexit.”
Jonathan Papworth, co-director of care home IT solutions provider Person Centred Software said financial and technology firms were being increasingly encouraged to move to mainland Europe to access the common market
He predicted a hard exit would increase staffing costs and would put around 20% of care home operators out of business.
“My biggest worry is that it will have a detrimental impact on the quality of care due to homes that provide good staff touch time being greatest hit by increased costs,” Jonathan said.
“It would be some kind of rough justice if the older generation (who predominantly voted exit) ended up in poorly run care homes because of the impact of their decision.”