Staff shortages forcing care managers to turn down new clients, NCF survey finds

Vic Rayner – high res

Acute staff shortages are forcing registered managers to turn down new clients, a new survey has found.

Over two thirds (67%) of the 340 managers surveyed by the National Care Forum (NCF) and the Outstanding Managers Network reported that they have either limited or stopped admissions of any new people into care homes or they have had to refuse to take on new requests for domiciliary care.

Meanwhile, some managers have been forced to hand back packages of care to local authorities because they do not have enough staff to provide them. This includes 33% who said they had limited or stopped admissions from hospitals.   

The 340 survey respondents, 24% of which provide domiciliary care, estimated this amounted to approximately 5,000 people being turned away from their care services since September 1.

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One provider told researchers: “Previously, we took on average four hospital discharges a week plus another three to four reablement requests for care per week from discharge to assess. In the last 12 weeks we have only been able to take two hospital discharges due to having to reduce capacity because of staff shortages.”

Vic Rayner (pictured), CEO of the NCF, said: “These findings make uncomfortable reading and offer evidence of the stark reality being experienced by care providers and registered managers on the ground, and of the pressure they are under every day to provide care and support to the people who rely on them.

“The significance of this data means that people are not being discharged from hospital when they need to, to continue care and treatment at home or in residential care settings. And providers are having to make very difficult decisions about who they can support – sometimes resulting in people with high or complex needs not getting access to the care and support they desperately need.”

The NCF, together with the Outstanding Managers Network, is calling for a pay boost for care staff to improve recruitment and reduce the numbers leaving​, and a retention bonus for those who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic to provide care to people in the community.

They are also calling on the government to add care workers to the Shortage Occupation List for a time limited period to help the care sector; create a new fully-funded, dedicated workforce fund to support the wellbeing of existing staff; and delay the implementation of mandatory vaccines in care homes.  

Jane Brightman, co-founder of the Outstanding Managers Network, said: “These responses are stark reading and highlight the difficulties faced by the sector and consequently the people who use care. This has been getting worse over time and very concerning for the winter ahead. Care Managers are exhausted, as are their teams. They have been working tirelessly with no let-up in sight. We’ve been calling on the government to work with the sector to provide more support and opportunity to improve this dire situation. Our thanks to NCF for working with us on this survey.”

Tags : National Care Forumoutstanding managers networkstaff shortages
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke