Image caption, Care supervisor Charlotte Backhouse supports elderly client in her own home
Care sector bosses in England are struggling to recruit staff, with more vacancies than before the pandemic, according to a leading industry body.
The number of unfilled jobs fell at the start of the pandemic but increased this year as the economy opened p, suggests a Skills for Care analysis.
Employers also find it difficult to keep the peexisting staff, according to the report.
The government says additional funding and a regular recruitment drive will help boost the workforce.
The annual report on the state of the adult social care sector and the workforce in England is based on data provided by a representative sample of employers from 1, 54 million British social workers.
The researchers calculate that employers were unable to fill 8% of positions before the pandemic.
Figures obtained since suggest that this figure was fell below 6% in June of last year - but by August of this year the trend had reversed, with 8.2% of care sector positions unfilled.
That's more than 100,000 positions with no one to fill them, according to Skills for Care.
Image caption, Charlotte and her colleague Vicky Hartgill (left) need to do some extra work
In Buckinghamshire, Caremark home care providers are struggling to find enough staff.
Many employees are exhausted, illness rates are high and better pay rates areoffered elsewhere.
This means that Care Supervisor Charlotte Backhouse and Principal Vicky Hartgill, both of whom work normally in the office, must step in and perform a frontline job.
In addition to her regular job, Vicky worked all weekend and Monday started at 5:00 am. Although she loves seeing clients, she says she is "broken ".
She added: "We need to be able to recruit, we need to be able to recruit safely and just have a bigger workforce.
“We need to pick up the phone and change the hours. We need to be creative with the care we provide - and until we can get other people to support us.
"This is how things will have to stay.
Dr Kris Owden, who runs Caremark Aylesbury and Wycombe, says they are already overwhelmed and mustDon't turn down up to eight new people in need of care each day because they don't have the capacity to help them.
Image caption, Dr Kris Owden expresses concern about the effect of nursing shortages on the NHS
Dr Owden, who worked in a hospital discharge ward during the height of the pandemic, is concerned about the ripple effect of the shortage of caregivers on the NHS, patients medically fit to return home being unable to do so.
"For us to be in this position before winter, before Christmas time is terrifying " he said. he declares.
He says a properly resourced care system would relieve pressure on the NHS and wants caregivers to be better paid, with an appropriate career structure and recognition of their skills.
The report reveals that the nursing staff are:
- 82% female
- 27% of age over 55
- 21% from ethnic minorities
Employers with "favorable workforce measures", such as high levels of employment 'learning and development, had lower staff turnover, research finds.
Covid and Brexit
The impact of Covid and Brexit travel restrictions was mixed, with no evidence that the existing non-UK workforce was moving to an increased pace since the start of the new immigration rules in January 2021.
However, since March 2021 there has been a sharp drop in the number of people coming to the UK for jobs social assistance for adults, compared to the same period in 2019, the report says.
"This report is a stark reminder that our recruitment challenges continue and, to help tackle this, we need to properly reward and value caregivers for their high level of competence and dedication," said Skills for Care Executive Director, Oonagh Smyth.
"Social care is a fundamental infrastructure in our communities.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and of Social Affairs said: "We appreciate the dedication and etireless efforts of healthcare workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
"We are providing at least £ 500million to support healthcare workers as part of the £ 5.4 billion to reform social care.
" We we also strive to ensure we have the right number of employees with the skills to provide high quality care to meet growing demands.
"This includes running regular national recruitment drives and providing councils with over £ 1 billion in additional funding for social care this year.