Better funding for social care needed now to avoid staffing crisis

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A leading social care group has warned that any predicted increases in NHS pay must be matched by better funding for the independent care sector to avoid a worsening of the current staffing crisis in the sector.

The Independent Care Group today welcomed reports that the government is expected to end the freeze on public sector pay, paving the way for pay increases for nurses.

But they have warned that it must be matched with better funding for social care to avoid a staffing crisis in that sector getting worse.

The Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham said: “Everyone wants to see an end to austerity and if the pay freeze ends then better pay for NHS nurses is well deserved and long overdue.

“But we fear the Government might not fully see the consequences of taking this step. If it is not matched by better funding for social care, which will enable providers to compete with the NHS when it comes to recruitment, we could see the situation get worse rather than better.

“The independent sector is already experiencing its worst ever crisis in recruiting nursing staff and unless providers can match what is being offered by the NHS, the situation is going to get worse. If nursing homes cannot recruit and have to close or reduce the numbers they can take in, then that will have a very serious impact on NHS hospitals and we will see delayed discharges from hospitals get worse and worse.”

He said the country’s oldest and most vulnerable people had endured austerity for many, many years – from government after government. Overall, social care is suffering from a major staff recruitment crisis, with 90,000 vacancies on any one day.

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