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Care homes face ‘winter of unmet need’ amid workforce exodus

Nurses and support staff leaving care sector for better pay and conditions in NHS and retail, as CQC calls for urgent investment in pay, conditions and career development
Care Quality Commission issues investment warning about care home sector

Nurses and support staff leaving care sector for better pay and conditions in NHS and retail, as CQC calls for urgent investment in pay, conditions and career development

Nursing homes are having to hand back their registration because they can no longer find nursing staff to warrant their status.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) pointed to the dire situation for some operators and said social care staff are ‘exhausted and depleted’ and working under intense pressure.

The healthcare regulator revealed it its annual State of Care report that staff vacancies in England had risen from 6% in April to 10% by September. Nurses in the sector are looking for jobs in hospitals, and support staff are seeking employment in hospitals, tourism and retail, where pay

Nurses and support staff leaving care sector for better pay and conditions in NHS and retail, as CQC calls for urgent investment in pay, conditions and career development

Care Quality Commission issues investment warning about care home sector

Nursing homes are having to hand back their registration because they can no longer find nursing staff to warrant their status.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) pointed to the dire situation for some operators and said social care staff are ‘exhausted and depleted’ and working under intense pressure.

The healthcare regulator revealed it its annual State of Care report that staff vacancies in England had risen from 6% in April to 10% by September. Nurses in the sector are looking for jobs in hospitals, and support staff are seeking employment in hospitals, tourism and retail, where pay is more competitive, it added.

CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said staff shortages could lead to a ‘tsunami of unmet need’ this winter.

‘Staff need to be supported and rewarded,’ he said.

‘In order to attract and retain the right people to work in adult social care in England, there must be a sharp focus on developing a clearly defined career pathway – linked to training, supported by consistent investment, and better terms and conditions and pay.’

Investment in social needed as a matter of urgency

While the CQC welcomed the £5.4 billion pledged by the government over the next three years for social care, it called for funding now so providers can ‘urgently increase capacity’.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said the report showed that ‘unsustainable’ pressures throughout the pandemic had taken a heavy toll.

‘Unrelenting pressure is damaging patient care, with some care homes forced to close because they can’t recruit enough staff,’ she said.

‘The government must invest in the workforce as an investment in patient safety.’


Further information

Care Quality Commission: State of Care report


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