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Sector calls for legislation to help recruit more care staff

April 3, 2020

An independent group representing the nation’s care providers, who care for and support more than 1.2 million vulnerable people across all forms of social care in the UK, have issued an urgent letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The group, with the support of Care England, Scottish Care, Care Forum Wales and the Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP), has outlined the urgent need for more staff to cover the increased demand on their services and staff shortages caused by sickness and self?isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic

They request that a clarification is made in legislation that anyone wishing to work in the provision of care including the NHS or any form of social care, will be permitted to take up paid employment in the NHS and with social care providers, even if they are currently furloughed in other industries and receiving 80% of their wage.

They have asked that furloughed workers receive their 80% payment and are able to work in care and get paid for this with no penalty, thus allowing the NHS and social care providers to employ such people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon Parker, founding partner of SP&P, a management consultancy for the care home sector and the host of The Care Home Show, a video podcast for the care home sector has issued this statement:

“After speaking with care business leaders around the country, it became very clear that there is a fast-approaching workforce crisis that, if left unsupported, could have huge implications for the people receiving care and also the service providers’ ability to support the people they are caring for.

“Whilst the NHS is doing an incredible job of supporting people with coronavirus and delivering other essential healthcare services, the social care sector is taking immediate action to support the NHS by freeing-up hospital beds.

“The knock-on effect of care homes and other care services is that they will require a bigger care workforce to support their additional residents, but this comes at a time when care teams are quickly shrinking because they themselves are having to self-isolate in large numbers due to the virus.

“The care home businesses that I have spoken to are expecting to lose between 30% and 50% of their team over the coming months. With the social care sector employing 1.6 million people, this could mean that the country needs an additional 800 thousand people to look after some of the most vulnerable people in society. If as a nation we do not get this right, the implications could be huge.

“It is because of this that we are calling upon the UK Government to support the social care sector by making an amendment that would allow the NHS and social care providers, in homes or in community, to provide paid employment to staff furloughed from other industries.

“An ideal outcome from this letter would be for the Government to make the suggested policy amendment and to support a campaign to get more people working in social care. The ‘Your NHS needs you’ campaign is likely to see more than a million people volunteer for the NHS – the social care sector will need a similar campaign to make sure that it is able to care for the ever-increasing number of vulnerable people who need its support.

“People in social care do an incredible job every day, but in today’s unprecedented times they are doing so under increasing pressure and increasing risk to themselves. As a nation we need to do everything that we can to support them.”

Simon Parker

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