Those who provide care to people directly in their own homes, or in nursing homes, say a growing shortage of staff means people face receiving deteriorating levels of care.
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone already working in the care sector, and dire warnings have been issued for a number of years. An aging population has placed additional pressure on a care system that has borne the brunt of Government cut backs since the last recession – a dichotomy that is leading to a recruitment crisis for those tasked with running the system.
According to data gathered by the charity, Skills for Care, 338,520 adult social care workers left their roles in 2015-16 with 60% of those leaving departing the adult social care sector altogether. According to the same data there is currently a shortfall of 84,320 care workers, meaning around one in every 20 care roles remain vacant.
So the challenge is to fill this shortfall. The care sector has to attract new blood. But what already looks like a difficult challenge becomes mammoth when you consider the comparative rewards on offer. The average full-time care worker earned £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 a year in 2016. The median average UK salary in the same year was around £27,600 for full time workers.
At the same time, staff churn is 27%, ratcheting up the pressure still further.
The number of people aged over 75 is expected to double by the year 2040. Today’s problems are tomorrow’s crisis. And while the current Government has promised £2b of extra funding over the next 3 years, successive administrations have failed to grasp the long term challenge and vulnerable people look set to suffer as a result.