An independent group representing the Nation’s care providers, who care and support over 1.2 million vulnerable people across all forms of social care in the UK, have issued an urgent letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnston.
The group, alongside the support of the Independent Health and Care Providers (IHCP), Care England, Scottish Care and Fforwm Gofal Cymru, has outlined the urgent need for more staff to cover the increased demand on their services and cover staff shortages caused by sickness and self‐isolation during the Covid-19 outbreak.
They request that a clarification is made in legislation that anyone wishing to work in the provision of care including the NHS or any form of Social Care, will be permitted to take up paid employment in the NHS and with social care providers, even if they are currently furloughed in other industries and receiving 80% of their wage.
They have asked that furloughed workers receive their 80% payment AND to work in care and get paid for this at no penalty. Allowing the NHS and social care providers to employ such people with no penalty.
Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care, a membership organisation that represents over 900 social care organisations in Scotland, delivering residential care, nursing care, day care, home care and housing support services both in the private and voluntary sector (www.scottishcare.org) said:
“The next few days and weeks will be critical in meeting the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. Right across Scotland thousands of women and men are leaving their homes every day to go to hospitals, care homes and communities to care for some of our most vulnerable, older and disabled citizens. We need to do everything we can to support them.
We are already facing critical shortages of staff because of the requirement to self-isolate if a family member has or is suspected of having Covid-19. We will face even greater staff shortage in the weeks ahead.”
“During this crisis we are supporting the NHS by helping free up hospital beds for those who will be admitted due to the virus as well as caring for those who have contracted it.
“But we now need more support and urgent action from Government to allow us to recruit more staff to help us during a time when there is a huge increase in demand on our staffing.
“We ask that an amendment is added to allow the NHS and social care providers, in homes or in community, to provide paid employment to staff furloughed from other industries.
“This action would have a significant positive impact on our staffing and our ability to maintain the high level of care we currently provide. It would help us support our existing workforce’s health and wellbeing and provide cover for the inevitable loss of staff to sickness and self‐isolation.
“Our teams across the UK are doing an incredible job under extreme pressure and putting themselves at risk everyday – we want to do everything we can to support them.
Donald concluded: “I, alongside my counterparts in Scotland and the rest of the UK call for an immediate amendment to the legislation to allow us to get on with the important job of staff recruitment to allow the elderly and vulnerable in our society to get the care they deserve.”