The chair of the Homecare Association has expressed deep concern for the growing workforce shortages in social care, saying she’s “never known it so bad”.
Speaking at the Home Care Expo yesterday, Dominque Kent (pictured) said: “If there’s ever been a time when I’ve lost sleep, it has been in the last six months.”
The chair referred to a survey conducted in August by the Homecare Association, formerly UKHCA, which found that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the longstanding issues of recruitment and retention in the sector, with demand for services rising and more people leaving the sector due to low pay and burnout.
Nearly all (95%) respondents said the recruitment of home care workers was harder than before the pandemic, with the majority (78%) saying that recruitment was “the hardest it has ever been”. There were not substantial regional differences.
Meanwhile, 89% of the 843 home care providers responding to the survey said demand for services had “increased” or “significantly increased”. Just 2% said that demand had reduced or significantly reduced.
Commenting on the recent announcement of a health and social care levy, Kent said the government has “once again” focused its attention on the 0.5 million people in hospitals and care homes, rather than the 15 million people needing support in their own homes.
“We need to shift the needle on demand,” she said. Kent added that “it makes no sense not to invest in home care” when it can keep people out of more expensive care settings and support people to live well in their communities.