Care sector ravaged by staff shortage, thanks to mass exodus and NHS test-and-trace, manager says

The manager of a local care provider has said that staff shortages are crippling the industry.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 5:42 pm

Peter Hunter, who runs Caring For You, a homecare agency based in Horbury, said the sector was struggling badly with workers either being pinged by test-and-trace, or leaving the profession entirely.

Caring For You is the latest in a long line of Wakefield care providers to be rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this year.

That's despite the regulator grading the independently-run service as 'good' for three of the five criteria it uses to make its judgement.

Social care crisis: Workers are said to be leaving the sector in droves while the industry struggles to cope financially.

Mr Hunter, who said it was the first time the service had been placed in special measures in its 11 years in business, suggested that every provider was having similar problems.

"Across the sector we're all struggling trying to get shifts covered, because staff are all either being pinged or they're just permanently leaving their jobs," he said.

"You have to be mindful of that.

"Everyone's having trouble trying to recruit people to work in the industry."

Mr Hunter's comments follow similar warnings from across the country, with high workloads, low pay and European nationals leaving the UK after Brexit all blamed for a shortage of care workers.

In February, Wakefield Council's service director for older people said that many care providers were struggling to balance their books and provide quality services in the current climate.

The CQC's report on Caring For You, which offers help to around 70 clients, found faults with mostly administrative issues.

Mr Hunter said that during the pandemic he'd prioritised frontline care ahead of "paperwork", adding that Covid had limited the time he and his colleagues were able to spend in their office on Bridge Road.

He added: "We've been working very closely with the CQC on an action plan, with regards to some of the things highlighted and to get things back in order.

"The report's a bit outdated really because of the 44 separate points it raises, we've resolved more than 50 per cent of them.

"In my view we are completely turned around.

"Covid has held things back for quite some time, but as the report outlines, on effectiveness and being caring we are rated as 'good'."

Local Democracy Reporting Service