More than 10,000 home care workers have left the sector over the last six months, a new report shows.
The Nuffield Trust has described an “invisible crisis” unfolding in home care and warned that the system is likely to reach breaking point this winter if no urgent action is taken.
The think tank analysed monthly experimental figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the adult social care workforce in England.
It found that in the six months to the end of October, the number of staff working in registered home care providers fell by around 10,834 (2.5%).
However, this might substantially underestimate the true fall given not all providers submitted data during that period, the think tank said.
Analysing data from the social care sector as a whole, it reported that at least 42,000 staff left their jobs over the six month period.
The Nuffield Trust warned that unless additional funding is made available, it’s likely that the home care sector will see even more staff leave this winter at the worst possible time.
Some funding has already been promised to support the retention of the home care workforce, and some councils are using funds to pay loyalty bonuses to retain staff over winter.
But critics have said that the funding is insufficient as it equates to just £100 per head.
Camille Oung, author at the Nuffield Trust said more radical thinking and leadership is needed from government to tackle the crisis.
“They will need to consider everything from competitive retention bonuses to accelerating (or even subsidising) access to drivers’ licences for home care staff,” she said.
“Government ministers cannot afford to be complacent about this crisis. Home care provides the foundations, along with other community services, on which much of health and social care is built. There is now an urgent need to shore up these foundations to prevent the further crumbling of the system this winter, and ensure that people are not left without a vital service that supports them to live well and independently.”