Care industry ‘at a standstill’

A CARE agency in Swindon has confirmed it is struggling to recruit new workers after it was revealed more than 900 carers in England are quitting per day.

This week figures were released that showed more than 338,000 care workers in England left their jobs last year – equivalent to more than 900 a day.

Low pay and the presumption that the job has no long-term career prospects have been cited as factors that have put off potential carers.

Coun Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for adults’ health and social care.

Carewatch Swindon cares for dozens of people in the area. Its managing director Darren Fowler explained that his business is finding it difficult to expand.

He said: “Trying to recruit new staff is quite challenging – there are not as many people applying as there were previously. We are virtually standing still.

“People are leaving the service all the time as they use it as a stepping stone to other things.”

Data gathered by the charity Skills for Care showed that in 2015-16 there were more than 1.3 million people employed in the adult social care sector in England with an estimated 338,520 adult social care workers leaving their roles in 2015-16, which is equivalent to 928 people leaving every day during that period.

Mr Fowler, who is also the chairman of the Wiltshire Domiciliary Care Association, said: “Historically, care has always been seen as something you can drop in and out of but we’re trying to show that you can make a career out of it.

"It’s becoming a more important job as hospitals are very keen to get people back out into the community but we’re finding it very difficult to help them since we’re unable to recruit more workers.”

The average full-time frontline care worker earns £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 a year, which is £12,800 less than the median average UK salary last year for people in full-time employment.

The adult social care industry has a staff turnover rate of 27 per cent.

Ben Curtis, managing director of Bluebird Care Swindon, said: “These numbers are quite staggering but we are not expecting a mass exodus of care workers from the industry.”

Coun Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for adults’ health and social care, said: “We employ about 50 social workers to look after older people and those with learning disabilities and, last year, 10 of our staff members left the local authority.

“A change in personal circumstances was the reason given for most of the departures. Some left because their partners secured new jobs outside of Swindon, others wanted to be closer to family.

“Levels of pay and falling job satisfaction did not appear to feature prominently.”

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