Better pay is the solution to England’s care recruitment crisis, says UNISON

The need for a new national care service grows more pressing with each passing day. 

Commenting on the small decrease in the number of vacancies in social care in England, reported by Skills for Care today (Wednesday), UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“The need for a new national care service grows more pressing with each passing day.

“Until care jobs pay decent wages and offer worthwhile careers, the sector is always going to struggle to attract and keep enough staff to meet growing demand and take the pressure off the NHS.

“Vacancy rates are down slightly because care firms have been on a recruitment drive overseas. But migrant workers are now propping up the broken care system.

“Many overseas care workers have paid extortionate fees to come to the UK. When they get here, many can’t believe what they’ve signed up for.

“Sold an expensive dream, the sad reality for many is a nightmare of terrible treatment, scant training, excessive hours and low pay. The government must hold care providers to account and put a stop to this ill-treatment.

“Ministers must stop with the excuses, get a grip and start clearing up the mess they’ve let care become.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON has written to care minister Helen Whately asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the treatment of migrant workers by care companies.
– The government added ‘care workers’ and ‘home carers’ to the shortage occupation list for skilled workers in February 2022. This has enabled care providers to recruit directly from abroad to these roles. Nurses from overseas can also access visas to work in social care.
– The latest Skills for Care annual report estimates that there are now 152,000 care worker vacancies in England. The figure was previously 165,000. Skills for Care says England will need its social care workforce to grow by roughly 445,000, to around 2.23 million by 2035, if the number of people aged 65 and over grows as expected. Its annual report says around 70,000 people were recruited from abroad in the last year.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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