Social Care System Struggling
It has been revealed by the BBC that 900 carers have quit their jobs every day in 2015-2016. In a letter to the prime minister, the chair of the UK Homecare Association spoke of the crisis and how the adult social care system has begun to collapse. It has been previously warned that the situation for social care has been progressively deteriorating. The government reacted in the recent Budget with an added £2 billion for social care, however, with a lack of investment in technologies, this extra budget will be lost in the cycle of recruitment and trying to fix existing backlog.
The charity Skills for Care conducted research that has shown that in 2015-16 there were more than 1.3 million people employed in the adult social care sector in England. However, an estimated 338,520 adult social care workers left their roles in the same year. That is equivalent to 928 people leaving their job every day.
A worrying figure, but it doesn’t end there, 60% of those who left their jobs left the adult social care sector completely. We’ve previously explored some of the challenges faced by social care workers, the time-consuming paper work, the lack of technology, the extra cases. In our previous blog, we looked at the care firms who have abandoned councils due to the low pay and difficulties maintaining the high standard of care patients deserve. The historic under-funding and ageing population has resulted in care workers with large caseloads, mountains of paper work, often duplicated, and not enough time to spend with patients. Further pressure is placed on staff as many of them remain on zero hour contracts, placing further strain on their personal lives as they struggle to qualify for mortgages etc. With this mounting pressure and a lack of technology to ease the load it is understandable that many feel it is too much. But by focusing on technology and investment in digital workforce management, it can help attract new staff and retain those already there.
The research also highlighted that full-time frontline care workers earned £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 a year, considering the extra over time, amount of paperwork and quality of care this wage works out less than some supermarkets.
With staff leaving and a constant need for new staff there is a growing risk that this will affect the level of care patients receive. But the Department of Health have tried to implement new strategies such as investing in apprentices for the future.
“Social care jobs have increased at an average of 3% a year since 2010, but we want to see improvements in turnover rates, with talented staff attracted to a robust sector backed by an additional £2bn over the next three years.
“Meanwhile, we’re investing in the workforce of the future, with a total of 87,800 apprentices starting last year – up 37,300 compared to 2010.”
The recent article highlights the continued struggle of social care workers who are out in the field and struggling with their existing workload. As the employment crisis continues and following on from the sudden announcement of a snap election, those already at the point of collapse will only feel more pressure. Without support and investment in the workforce solutions that will make things easier, the future will continue to be an endless circle of excess workloads, endless paperwork and the quality of care being in jeopardy.
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