Situation ‘critical’ for Scottish care homes

New research has revealed that independent care home providers in Scotland face critical recruitment, recruitment and sustainability concerns.

Scottish Care consulted its members on issues, including recruitment and retention of staff, payment of the Scottish Living Wage (SLW) and the sustainability of services.

Scottish Care CEO, Dr Donald Macaskill said: “This significant report is the latest piece of research produced by Scottish Care which highlights the critical stage the care home sector finds itself in Scotland. Whilst there is much to be positive about in the description of dedicated care and support, the research also depicts a sector holding on by its fingertips.

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“We are struggling to recruit new staff and hold on to existing staff. There is a shortage of nurses which is little short of scandalous. There is a wholly inadequate resourcing of initiatives such as the Scottish Living Wage. Put simply, care homes cannot continue to survive on the breadline.

“Discussions on reform are coming to a critical stage. I hope this research sharpens the minds of all involved to realise that unless we identify real positive actions which include an adequate funding of care homes, we will be in a state which will be irretrievable.”

According to the survey, 42% of care home services believe paying the SLW has made them less sustainable.

Average staff turnover in care homes was 22%, up from 17% in 2015.

Almost four in five care homes (79%) have found nurse recruitment more difficult with 21% saying they had significantly raised use of agency staff.

Vacancies were found at 77% of care homes, with 44% reliant on the EU as a staff recruitment pool.

Almost two-thirds (63%) said they recruited nurses from the EU leaving them potentially exposed to changes to immigration as a result of Brexit.

Dr Macaskill added:  “There is at the moment a small number of care homes closing because they simply cannot survive. It is incumbent on government at local and national level to recognise the real dangers this sector faces today and to respond accordingly or within the year, we will be faced with a real emergency. We cannot continue to get care on the cheap.”

To read the report, click here.

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