More than 40,000 social care workers have left the sector in the past six months, an analysis of government data shows a think tank is calling a “toxic mix of workforce challenges.”
The Nuffield Trust said there is a “deep crisis” in social care staff ahead of a very challenging winter.
The think tank analyzed monthly experimental data from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the adult social care workforce in England.
It found that the number of employees reported by social care providers who submitted data for the week ended April 27 fell from 1,584,535 to 1,542,590 in the week ended October 26 – a drop of nearly 42,000 employees.
But it said this could be an underestimate due to non-submission of all provider data over a six-month period.
The group says a more likely decline over this period is an estimated 50,000-70,000 employees – which would equate to a workforce shrinking between 3% and 4%.
It says that homecare providers could have been badly hit, with the loss of about 11,000 employees in the same period.
But, when adjusting for providers not collecting data, it can go as high as 30,000.
The Nuffield Trust said it was an “invisible problem”, and without immediate action could have “far-reaching consequences” on people’s health.
There is a perceived “toxic” mix behind social care workers leaving the sector, including the effects of low morale, burnout, uncompetitive pay, lack of career advancement, current shortages and a mandatory vaccination requirement.
Providers also face competition from other regions that may offer higher salaries or Christmas sign-on bonuses.
The government has launched a recruitment drive as well as a £162.5 million fund to help providers recruit and retain staff over the coming months.
Unless further and immediate action is taken, it is possible that we will see even more care workers leaving the sector at the worst of times this winter.
Separate analysis by the PA news agency shows that more than 5,000 care home staff have left the sector since the week ending Nov. 7 — days before the deadline for these workers to receive double-reply. Was.
Earlier this week the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services estimated that 1.5 million hours of home care were unable to be delivered between August and October this year due to staff shortages.
And lawmakers heard Monday that pressure is building on unpaid caregivers over staffing issues, including a woman taking care of her husband, who hasn’t left home since June.
The Nuffield Trust estimates that 110,000 people could be denied home care, based on government estimates that 35,000 social care workers could leave because of the widespread mandatory vaccination requirement coming next April.
The Nuffield Trust’s deputy director of policy, Natasha Curry, said there is uncertainty due to the data gap, but its analysis “paints a bleak picture of a deeper crisis”.
She said: “Unless further and immediate action is taken, it is likely that we will see even more care workers leaving the sector at the worst possible time this winter.
“While much attention has been paid to the winter pressures in hospitals and even to a lesser extent in care homes, the lack of staff providing care in people’s own homes has been an invisible problem.
“The home care system is at breaking point this winter. There will be far-reaching consequences for people and health and care services if no immediate action is taken.
“Unfortunately, more people will be unable to access the care they need, there will be more pressure on unpaid caregivers, and there will be increased problems getting people to the proper care settings once they leave the hospital.”
Dr Jane Townson, chief executive of the Homecare Association, said staff shortages put the lives of those dependent on social care at risk, adding the exodus was “hardly surprising”.
She said: “A lack of caregivers hurts older and disabled people. It is also very stressful for caregivers, who may feel that they are unable to adequately meet needs because they So drawn when their motivation is to make life better.
“During Covid-19, homecare workers continued to visit people at their homes every day, while GPs, district nurses, social workers, housing managers and CQC inspectors worked remotely.
“Our workforce feels tired and underwhelmed. It’s easy to find better-paying jobs in hospitality and retail that don’t require vaccinations, so it’s hardly surprising that caregivers are leaving in large numbers. ,