An independent group representing the nation’s care providers has called for an urgent change to legislation to allow more recruits to join the care sector during the coronavirus crisis.
The group, with the support of Care England, Scottish Care, Fforwm Gofal Cymru (Care Forum Wales) and the Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP), has written to Boris Johnson outlining the urgent need for more care workers to cover the increased demand on their services amidst staff shortages caused by sickness and self‐isolation during the Covid-19 outbreak.
They request 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 also 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 (pictured), the Founding Partner of SP&P, a management consultancy for the care home sector, said: “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 that 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 on 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.”
Simon said that businesses he had spoken with were expecting to lose between 30% and 50% of their staff over their coming months, meaning the sector could need an additional 800,000 people to look after the most vulnerable.
“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 the community, to provide paid employment to staff furloughed from other industries,” he added.