Workforce Pressures - Our Survey Report

DCHC ran a survey early in July in response to a request from DHSC about how the care sector are finding recruiting and retaining staff.

The participants were asked if they were happy for the below to be passed to DHSC, all stated that they were. Here are the votes responses to the questions with examples of their thoughts.

As you can see, the answer was unanimous with all the participants stating ‘Yes’ that they are having problems recruiting staff. A few examples that were given as to why they feel this are:

“We have 4 Care Homes. 2 Cooks short. Several care staff short. Staff leaving for better pay in variety of roles. Care Homes now in wages war for staff. To be competitive, wages need to increase by 12.5%. Significantly impacting viability. Most staff recruited from other sectors find it too hard and leave. Many find increasing intensity of training extremely difficult. It has not been as bad in last 20 years.”

“The quality of applicants is poor, and quantity of applicants is tiny!”

“We either get no candidates for the job advertisement or not suitable. Many don’t send back their application form!”

“We have consistent vacancies for both care staff and nurses. It is also very hard to recruit catering staff. We have had several vacancies open for many months now.”

“Staff apply, don't turn up, don't want hours offered, low pay not interested.”

“In recent weeks have advertised 3 slightly different care roles in an attempt to attract a wider variety of people. No successful appointments made.”

“Advertised on indeed, Facebook, Local paper, Banners, staff referral scheme for support workers. Competitive pay rates (£10.84 phour) but just not getting applicants.”

“Get applications, then no return of application form or no show at point of interview”

“Poor response to adverts, no general enquiries re vacancies”

The issue with the staff retention seems that the participants where an equal divide with the answers being split 50/50. A few examples of the answers left by the participants that stated ‘Yes’ are:

“Last 12 left for better pay into poorly performing homes. More money. Much easier. It seems perverse that poor services incentivised to cut corners. Homes managing complexity the opposite. System is a complete failure.”

“Those new to sector realise it’s not for them, many staff now exhausted & can’t take pressure anymore. Lastly staff leaving Due to direction government going re vaccination”

“Nobody wants to work in the health and social care industry anymore. Overworked and underpaid, no recognition”

“Other local care homes poaching staff”

“Staff are getting fed up with working with full PPE on and going to other areas of work where this isn’t required.”

“No one appears to like being asked to comply with certain aspects of the job or role. Poor reliability. Lots of mental health issues and sickness.”

“Due to limited response from applicant, having to appoint staff who have no experience in the complex needs of those we support. Of 19 staff recruited in last year we've lost 9 of them. Turnover is higher than ever before”

“Higher wages elsewhere - e.g., retail/warehouse/driving roles”

“3 staff left in a week, all to work in Torbay Hospital for NHS”

When asked why they think that has happened the participants quite a range of answers, a few examples of these are:

“Because (i) central government has no vision, plan or strategy for social are (ii) instead it continues to ignore sector leaders. (iii) it is underfunded even without any kind of vision. (iv) social care / elderly care is constantly demeaned (v) government only prioritises health for young and displays ageist thinking in its priorities. (vi) inconsistency / duplicity in guidance or lack of it has presented additional / avoidable / foreseeable risk (which continues). Could go on.”

“Mix of exhaustion from working throughout pandemic and loss of EU recruits and nobody wanting to work in social care for poor pay, few benefits and no recognition”

“Not enough praise & too much pressure from outside agencies”

“Poor press about care homes. Jobs in care stressful hard work and not ‘attractive’”

“Recruiting staff that are deemed safe, but not at the bar we would've previously set; Burnout - tougher conditions through the pandemic; care yet again receiving bad press, so rules out by some applicants”

“Poor wages for job, covid has made it harder”

“Combination of factors; Brexit, people leaving the sector as difficult time through Covid and pay low, workers that came in returning to previous career paths”

“It's very hard for us to match salaries. There is a huge shortage of nurses with PIN numbers. There is also a skills shortage and whilst there's lots of funding for training, it's still hard to get anyone to commit to this whilst working for a very low wage. The status of care work has NOT CHANGED DESPITE THE PANDEMIC AND THE ENDLESS CLAP FOR CARERS. If the government doesn't lead by example in respecting the care sector, how on earth can everyone else follow suit.”

“So many other options of work around, why would you want to work with so many regulations and requirements like masks and testing when u could earn the same without the hassle, even long-term carers are looking to leave”

Again, a full unanimous response to this question about if a social care crisis is looming, a few examples of their views are:

“It has been looming for decades. It is here now. Brexit and staffing chaos. Underfunding, neglect, and persistent delay in strategic planning. Ageism. Top 3.”

“Two reasons, lack of staff and low occupancy. If occupancy increases and the staffing crisis isn't fixed, homes will close due to unsafe staffing or will have to make the decision not to admit. Either way it is disastrous. Exhausted staff will leave the industry to work in industries that recognise their worth in a monetary way and in recognition. We need parity with the NHS in every way”

“Under paid, NHS taking staff, disrespect from everyone, no incentive for some people to come off benefits to work, better pay in other industries”

“Staff tired of covid19 restrictions and worry, PPE, low pay, long hours, and also willing to try other similar paid jobs now which are less stressful. Finally, the more short staffed a home is the harder it is, and so other staff face burn out, and may seek alternative employment”

“Staff morale and stresses with existing staff. Uncertainty about Covid impact moving forward managers and staff exhausted disillusioned totally fatigued”

“Overstretched workforce, can't recruit from Europe anymore, can bring people over from red list countries, no staff left”

 “Without staff there is no social care. There is no incentive for people to move into this area of work. The pay has never been good, however the job used to be fun and rewarding which to some extent balanced the poor pay. Covid and the necessary restrictions this has involved such as the use of PPE, not being able to eat and drink with the residents, limiting of community access, overall, more of a clinical emphasis to life in the home rather than a social one has totally changed this”

“Lack of proper funding for care which then keeps wages low and therefore difficulties with staff recruitment - this will lead to care home closures”

“Perfect storm of Lack of public funding creating low pay conditions for challenging job, viability of homes being challenged”

Posted on August 5th 2021

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