The National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading not-for-profit association for social care providers responds to the government announcement today of a £120million fund to bolster staffing in the social care sector.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum (NCF) says:
“It is positive that the government has taken note of the extreme staffing pressure that care providers across the country are experiencing. The funding confirmed today is welcome news, but must be subject to continuous review. Communities across the country desperately need care organisations to be properly supported now and in the future, so that they are ready and able to face every twist and turn of this pandemic.
“Research by NCF amongst its membership has shown just what phenomenal pressure there is on staffing across all care settings. The announcement today of £120m funding to local authorities to facilitate urgent support for staffing is welcome. The funds must be dispatched urgently to providers to address the immediate staff shortages. Funding is needed first and foremost to maximise the contribution of the existing workforce, enabling provider organisations to address immediate staff pressures. For some providers this will mean paying existing staff to work additional hours, to overstaff services to cope with short notice absences, and to reward and support those who have been at the frontline of this pandemic, without relief, for the last 10 months.
“In addition, the funding must be available to enable rapid recruitment at a local level which uses the best of the practices developed during this pandemic – utilising technology, rapid training and fast track DBS. The acute challenges we are seeing in hospitals across the country are also happening in social care – right here, right now. It is important that government has recognised the very real staffing crisis affecting social care – and the support on the table today must be kept under constant review – this crisis is not going away anytime soon.”
Finally – in response to the government decision not to bring forward legislation restricting the routine movement of staff, Rayner continues:
“It is very important that the government has listened to the care sector and rowed back from its previous recommendation to use Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulation to prevent staff movement. It was an ill-thought through policy proposal, which targeted low paid care workers and created high level of concerns that people would be required to choose between health and care settings at a time when their skills and expertise were desperately needed. Care homes have been doing everything possible to reduce staff movement, and the prospect of enforcement was extremely unhelpful in a sector stretched to near breaking point.