I was not surprised to read this morning that there are a very significant number of vacancies in the care sector and that employers are struggling to retain staff. I have seen this first hand.
As a Court of Protection Deputy appointed to manage the financial affairs of people who do not have the mental capacity to do so themselves, I am the employer of a large number of carers for clients with disabilities. I cannot recall a time in my career when it was so difficult to recruit and retain care staff, even in the private sector where we can generally afford to pay higher rates than in the public sector.
Working in care is a challenging job and often comes with significant responsibility for the person who is being cared for. The shortage of staff also places additional pressures on those who are working in the sector - to work extra hours or carry out additional tasks. Increasingly care workers are leaving the sector to take up 'easier' jobs. I have personal experience of staff leaving to work in the local supermarket because the work is less challenging and salaries can now be comparable.
For those who are dependent on social care provided by local authorities, things can be even more difficult. Social care teams are all over-stretched and lack the funding that is required to provide fully for people with care needs. There are delays in care assessments, regular changes in allocated social workers, and I have seen cases where the care that is provided is inadequate for the individual's complex needs.
Brexit too has had an impact, with fewer people arriving in the UK to take up care jobs.
There is no easy solution to any of these challenges, but yet again the current situation highlights the struggles that people with care needs face on a daily basis.
Care sector bosses in England are struggling to recruit staff, with more jobs unfilled than before the pandemic, says a leading industry body.