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‘Devastating’ social care shortages leave more than 500,000 adults waiting for help

By Charlene Rodrigues
PA Wire

New research estimates more than 500,000 adults are waiting for social care in England.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) said the new figures are a major increase from last year’s estimate of 294,000.

Adass president Sarah McClinton told the BBC it was having “a devastating impact on people’s lives”.

The organisation said the sector is experiencing a growing shortage of workers which is worsened by low pay and the cost-of-living crisis.

In April, government advisers said carers should be paid a higher minimum wage and made permanently eligible for work visas under immigration rules to help tackle the shortages.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which briefs ministers on immigration policy, urged the government to adopt a string of recommendations “as soon as possible” to “alleviate the challenges facing the social care sector”.

However, the body warned immigration “cannot be a silver bullet” to solve “fundamental” problems in the industry, such as “increased demand for care, high vacancy rates and poor terms and conditions of employment compared to competing occupations”.

The government relaxed immigration rules in February for care workers, following an early MAC recommendation, so providers could recruit from overseas to fill vacancies.

On Wednesday the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that it increased funding for nursing in care homes by 11.5 per cent from 2022 to 2023.

NHS-funded care home providers will receive an extra £87 million for nursing care during the pandemic in 2021 to 2022, DHSC said in a statement.

The retrospective Covid uplift provides additional payments of £21.93 per resident per week for 2021 to 2022.

But even pre-pandemic, care homes were already struggling due to rising operating costs, lack of qualified staff, and underfunding by local authorities.

The additional funding for nursing in care homes will support tens of thousands of care home residents with nursing needs, including those with learning and physical disabilities.

Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said increasing the weekly rate and the retrospective uplift reflects the cost of this vital work carried by our valued and skilled workforce to help those who need it.

“It is right we continue to review the cost of this care to ensure nurses can continue providing excellent care and support the needs of their residents,” Ms Keegan said.

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Dive Deeper:
Immigration shortfalls, like soaring housing prices, fuel California's population drop
LOS ANGELES — When people call Aquilina Soriano Versoza looking for at-home caretakers to hire, she often has to tell…
Time to empower nurses to take on positions of power and influence
Nurses are now working unsustainably. Every New Zealander should be concerned because our working conditions are your healthcare conditions, writes…
Inflation triggers California minimum wage increase in 2023
California's minimum wage will increase to $15.50 per hour next year
What ABC readers are asking us about the 2022 federal election
We asked ABC readers what they wanted to know about the federal election and received more than 7,000 submissions. Here…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Doctor warns 'patients are coming to harm' as thousands face record 12-hour A&E waits
'The crisis in urgent and emergency care continues to deteriorate. The situation is more serious than it has ever been'
Doctors trained abroad want to see you now
It took 11 years for Vladislav Zimin to complete his training in Russia to become an interventional cardiologist, a specialist…
Get all your news in one place