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EXCLUSIVE: Call for changes to DBS checks as ‘negligent’ care staff leave without notice

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A Caremark franchise director has expressed concerns about the potential “tragic consequences” of “negligent” care staff who are able to leave their jobs without notice.

In a letter to her local MP, Gavin Williamson, Jasbir Chauhan, managing director of Caremark Cannock Chase and South Staffordshire, described the situation as a “ticking time bomb” and called for urgent help from all stakeholders.

She said staff who fail to turn up for work or move from one care company to another without notice are putting clients’ lives at risk and demoralising hardworking staff.

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But contractual sanctions, such as one week’s notice, are “virtually unenforceable”, due to legal costs, Chauhan told the MP.

“We encountered a situation last month where an new member of staff decided to email us at 8.25am advising that she will not be working her shift, later that same day. She has worked the same shift the week prior, and was given work within her requested availability,” she said.

“The on-call holder was covering sickness of an existing member of staff, as it stood, but the new member would not answer our calls or emails.

“We’re operating on a skeleton staff basis in any event, but the termination with immediate effect causes immense pressure and staffing stress.”

Chauhan said this is not the first time this incident has occurred and won’t be the last, unless something is done.

“I am really concerned that there will come a point where care companies like ours continue to be placed in highly precarious situations, like the above, and tragically something awful will happen, due not only to a lack of staff, but due to neglectful staff,” she explained.

The MD said that in order to inject some staffing stability, measures such as disclosing reprimands on DBS certificates need to be considered in earnest.

As of November 2020, reprimands and final warnings are no longer shown on DBS checks.

“Whereas looking into placing an entry on the DBS is likely to act as detriment to those who become ‘career carers’, it will also remind them of the seriousness of their omissions, by failing to turn to work may put a human being’s life at risk,” Chauhan explained in her letter.

“We all share social responsibility, and handing back packages is not the short- or long-term answer. It is simply passing the buck.

Gavin Williamson MP is yet to reply to Chauhan’s letter.

Julia Jessel, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Care, told HCI: “This an issue for the care sector nationally and I would encourage public debate as to how recruitment and retention of staff can be improved.

“In Staffordshire the county council is currently supporting the private care sector by running an extensive recruitment campaign promoting career opportunities, investing in training for the social care workforce and officers meet regularly with care providers to understand local market conditions.

“We have also recently emphasised to local care providers that when recruiting they must undertake the necessary checks for new staff, including references and other appropriate information from the previous employer.”

Tags : CaremarkDBS
Sarah Clarke

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