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Leaders respond after Skills for Care highlights sector workforce challenges

James Bullion

Social care leaders have given their reactions after Skills for Care revealed the recruitment and retention challenges facing the sector.

In its annual report, The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, Skills for Care said there were around 112,000 job vacancies at any one time in the adult social care sector.

ADASS President, James Bullion, (pictured) said it was time to reward the social care workforce with pay that was “commensurate to the difference they make”. James said that “social care minimum pay expectation, career progression, skilled worker immigration status and a comprehensive social care workforce strategy” was urgently needed. He said it was a source of “national shame” that social care was regarded as “minimum wage work” with the resultant high turnover and lack of continuity of care.

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Kathy Roberts, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), called for a long-term Social Care People Plan similar to the NHS People Plan, offering parity with the NHS in terms of recognition as a skilled workforce and reward through comparable pay and conditions.

The CPA Chair said investment in the social care workforce should be a national priority and highlighted care workers’ exclusion from the government’s skilled worker criteria which comes into force in January.

Social Care Institute for Excellence Chief Executive (SCIE) Kathryn Smith also called for the social care workforce to be given parity with the NHS. Kathryn highlighted the SCIE’s call in its Beyond Covid report for the care workforce to move from low pay, low recognition and poor conditions towards higher pay, better conditions, progression and development.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), warned there was still an “awful lot more to do” to create a sustainable and integrated health and social care workforce.

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The author Lee Peart

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