Proper funding rather than immigration will provide a solution to the social care recruitment crisis, a government advisor has said.
Professor Brian Bell, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), made the comments during a panel session on recruitment at the Future of Care conference at The King’s Fund in London this week.
Professor Bell said: “The government is committed to having an enquiry into the impact of the ending of free movement on social care.”
The government advisor did not rule out the possibility of a sector level scheme for social care on immigration controls and hinted at a possible announcement by the Home Office in the coming weeks.
The MAC chair’s comments came after leaders called on the PM to lift the 30 June deadline for EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications, warning it will have a major impact on the sustainability of social care provision.
Professor Bell said proper funding that would enable a better deal for the care workforce would provide a real answer to the problem, however, commenting: “They [the government] can’t fill the vacancies in social care with the current pay and conditions on offer. Politicians understand that can’t continue.”
Charles Armitage, co-founder and CEO of Florence, agreed that a fairer deal for workers was the real issue in care recruitment, commenting: “The core issue is how we treat our workers at ground level. We don’t create the environment we need to solve the recruitment and retention problem.”
Sophie Chester-Glynn, managing director of Coproduce Care, said now was the time to lobby MPs and call for a better deal for social care.
She said greater unionisation was needed to create a voice for social care workers.
A Government spokesperson said: “We have previously committed to commission and publish an independent review into the impact of ending free movement on the care sector and hope to do so very shortly. It would not be prudent to prejudge any findings or recommendations of the review.”