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Social care sector loses up to 50,000 staff in lead up to winter months

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The social care sector in England may have lost up to 50,000 workers across all providers of care in the run up to the winter months, new analysis has revealed.

The Nuffield Trust said the number of staff reported by those providers of social care that submitted data fell by 42,000 in the six months to the end of October 2021.

Adjusting the data to account for the fact that a changing number of providers across all care settings submitted data over this period, the fall in staff numbers would be more likely in the region of 50,000 to 70,000 workers, the Trust said.

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A reduction of staffing within this range would represent the workforce shrinking between 3% and 4%, putting providers under enormous strain during the winter months.

Shortages estimated in the analysis across social care providers are within the range of Skills for Care evidence suggesting the vacancy rate increased by half from 6% in April to 9% in October.

Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said: “Gaps in workforce data supplied by providers of social care services means there is uncertainty over the scale of the staffing shortages across this fragile sector.

“But this analysis does paint a bleak picture of a deepening crisis just as over-stretched care staff prepare for what is expected to be one of the sector’s most difficult winters. Unless further and immediate action is taken, it’s likely we will see even more care staff leave the sector this winter at the worst possible time.

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The author Lee Peart

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