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Loyalty bonuses announced to tackle home care staff shortages in Stoke-on-Trent

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Loyalty bonuses are being offered to home care workers across Stoke-on-Trent, as part of plans to recruit and retain more staff this winter.

The NHS has announced funding of £1.05 million, which will be used by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to help home care providers tackle staff shortages.

Councillor Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “By paying a loyalty bonus to staff employed by independent sector providers this winter, it shows that we very much appreciate the dedication that they have shown in looking after vulnerable people across Stoke-on-Trent.

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“The demand for adult social care in Stoke-on-Trent has risen sharply this year. At the moment, there is a shortage of home care staff in the city and we are working with our NHS partners to both employ and retain care professionals in these roles.”

A lack of home care staff means that patients who are medically fit for discharge remain in hospitals across England, including Royal Stoke.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is working with the NHS to tackle this issue. 

Marcus Warnes, accountable officer for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The NHS is dependent in so many ways on social care and care workers. Care workers are often the difference between getting a patient back home and keeping them in hospital. And if we have to keep them in hospital because support at home is proving difficult to arrange that bed can’t be used by anyone else and things start to grind to a halt.

“The NHS are also working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to recruit more people into social care. This involves a number of staff being recruited on NHS terms and conditions and seconded to domiciliary care roles within the city. This is thought that this is a national first.”

The £1.05 million in funding comes from the £162.5m retention and recruitment fund announced by the government in October.

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said at the time that the money will help local authorities bolster staff numbers and care workers to continue delivering high-quality care for everyone who needs it.

But critics have said that while the funding is welcome, it is insufficient, and equates to just £100 per care worker.

The Homecare Association has described the move from Stoke-on-Trent City Council as a “nice gesture” but revealed that the local authority currently pays providers an hourly home care rate of £18.65 per hour, below the recommended Minimum Price for Homecare of £21.43.

The minimum price covers the minimum legally compliant pay rate for care workers, their travel time, mileage and wage-related on-costs.

The rate also includes the minimum contribution towards the costs of running a care business which complies with quality requirements at a financially sustainable level.

Dr Jane Townson, the association’s CEO, tweeted: “It is good to see the new Recruitment and Retention Fund being used to offer loyalty bonuses for care workers. This does not address government underfunding for homecare which drives poor pay, terms and conditions for care workers in the first place.”

Tags : bonusretentionstaff shortagesStoke-on-Trent
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke