Hft’s response to the publication of the Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care report

2022-07-26 15:57:33

The Health and Social Care Committee yesterday (25 July) published its third report on Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care. Kirsty Matthews, CEO of learning disabilities charity Hft, responds:

The Health and Social Care Committee’s new report highlights again that the Government’s progress in meeting its key policy commitments regarding the social care workforce are wholly inadequate. This must be addressed urgently.

The workforce crisis in the health and social care sector is getting worse by the day and there is no reliable government strategy to mitigate the effects of this, which include the fact that social care providers are facing a perfect storm as they are forced to turn down admissions to services and even shut services altogether.

Independent research commissioned by Hft showed that almost all providers reported an increase in vacancy rates during 2021, with the average turnover rate standing at 20%. This is echoed in the Committee’s projections that an extra 490,000 jobs will be needed in social care by the early part of the next decade to cope with demand.

Pay is one of the most cited factors when it comes to recruitment and retention in social care and this is confirmed by Government analysis which estimates more than 17,000 jobs in care are paid below the minimum wage. However, our research showed that 80% of those providers surveyed say the fees they receive from local authorities to deliver care is not enough to cover their wage bills, and that one in 10 providers will need to cover 20% of their wage bill from their own reserves, rather than through fees paid by local authorities to deliver the right standard of care to those they support.

A brave plan must be put in action immediately to ensure that the social care workforce crisis is properly addressed in the short and long term. This should include drawing down additional funds from the Health and Social Care Levy to ensure local authorities can pay providers a fair amount for the care they provide, which fully covers increases in the National Living Wage and recognises the cost of inflation. In the long term, the introduction of a fully funded minimum pay rate for social care needs to be considered.

Whoever is elected, the new Prime Minister must address the crisis in the social care workforce as a priority when they take office. Not only is this vital for the future of our social care sector, but also our health service, which relies heavily on being able to allow people to return home with all the support they need to live healthy and fulfilled lives. However, without sufficient capacity in our social care system, this becomes impossible, with the future of these interdependent sectors – and the government’s integration agenda – increasingly at risk.

Notes to editors

For further information please phone 0117 906 1697 or email media.enquiries@hft.org.uk

About Hft

Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk