Care charities blighted by ‘unsustainable reliance on agency staff’

Charities and other providers working in the adult social care sector are being propped up by a “costly and increasingly unsustainable reliance on agency staff”, according to Care England, the charity that represents the sector.

The charity is urging ministers to intervene to ease the staffing crisis impacting the sector and tackle workforce pressures.

It is particularly concerned that providers in the care sector are relying on costly agency staff, which is affecting the quality and continuity of care.

Care England chief executive Martin Green said the sector’s reliance on agency staff has “been a bandage over more deep-rooted recruitment and retention issues, which now, expectedly, are unravelling”.

He wants to see a “joined up, strategic approach, across government departments to supporting the recruitment and retention of care sector staff and warns that “the current measures in place are wholly insufficient”.

The £500 health and social care levy already pledged by the government to support the care sector only equates to an extra 5.7p a hour for workers warns Green.

“This does not begin the touch the sides of such vast workforce pressures,” he said.

Last September care charities warned that the sector is battling “the most acute recruitment and retention crisis that we are aware of historically”.

Green added: “There is a rich pool of individuals both internationally and domestically that have the potential to bolster the workforce and reduce reliance on agency staff.

“Agency is a short-term solution which has now snowballed into a long-term fix for adult social care providers. This is not sustainable. We need a root and branch reform of how individuals enter and progress through roles within the sector.”

In July Charity Times’ Leadership Survey revealed that staffing and recruitment issues are the biggest challenge among half of charity CEOs.

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