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UNISON and NCF call for urgent action on social care staffing crisis

Vic Rayner – high res (003)

UNISON and the National Care Forum (NCF) have written to Health & Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid to call for urgent action on the staffing crisis engulfing the social care sector.

The joint letter, which comes ahead of the government’s Spending Review next week, says “recruitment and retention emergency” has been triggered by “chronic underfunding leading to low wages, staff burnout, and mandatory vaccination”.

Figures from a ​NCF survey reveal nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents had seen an increase in staff leaving, and 46% said their employees were leaving the sector completely. This is on top of a pre-existing vacancy rate of 105,000.

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Both UNISON and the NCF say what’s needed to avert a disaster is a pay boost for care staff to improve recruitment and reduce the numbers leaving​, and a retention bonus for those who have “gone above and beyond in the delivery of care during the darkest of times”.

​Both organisations are also calling on the government to scrap – or delay at the very least – the implementation of mandatory jabs in care homes in England.

In addition, UNISON and the NCF ​want to see a new dedicated workforce fund ​to support the wellbeing of existing staff, highlight how valuable they are and persuade them to stay in their social care jobs.

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Care employees have been undervalued and ignored for too long. And the escalating staffing crisis is a consequence of this. It’s high time for a decent wage boost for all care workers.

“There’s been much talk but not ​nearly enough action on funding social care. ​Without extra government resources, homes will close and domiciliary care be cut back meaning those dependent on ​support will suffer.”

NCF chief executive officer Vic Rayner (pictured) said: “The government must act now to ensure those who currently work in the sector feel valued and recognised by providing a retention bonus alongside this give a clear call to those contemplating working in care that they will be recognised by increasing pay rates for all who work in care.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We appreciate the dedication and tireless efforts of care workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We are providing at least £500 million to support the care workforce as part of the £5.4 billion to reform social care.

“We are also working to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high quality care to meet increasing demands. This includes running regular national recruitment campaigns and providing councils with over £1 billion of additional funding for social care this year.”

 

Tags : FundingLegislationNational Care ForumRecruitmentunison
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