Press Release from Scottish Care National Care Home Conference


National Care Home Conference

Hilton Hotel Glasgow

Friday 18 November 2016

Care Homes at the Heart”




Care home operators say more needs to be done to promote the positive image of care homes, as they face serious staffing challenges due to an “intolerable” shortage of nurses.

And unless immediate action is taken the sector has warned there may be insufficient capacity to cope with increased demand as winter sets in.

The message will be delivered at a conference in Glasgow today (FRI NOV 18) by Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, the representative body for the country’s independent social care services.

Unveiling two new detailed reports on nursing in the care home sector –  ‘Independent Sector Nursing Data Report 2016’ and  ‘Voices from the Nursing Front Line’ – Dr Macaskill said more than a quarter of nursing posts are vacant, forcing operators to increasingly rely on agencies to fill their nursing rotas at an average cost of £343-per-shift although some charge up to £800-per-shift.

He said:

“This is clearly an unsustainable model, and one that needs addressed as a matter of urgency.  We need to work with Local Authorities, the NHS and other partners to attract more people to work in the care sector, as it can be a hugely rewarding career path which offers a range of skills and experiences to nurses.”

Detailing the scale of the problem facing Scottish Care members, Dr Macaskill will tell the sector’s National Care Home Conference – which is sponsored by the Clydesdale Bank and will be addressed by Health Secretary Shona Robison:

“The findings of our report – Independent Sector Nursing Data Report 2016 –  indicates this is a period of real criticality

“Last year we identified a  developing crisis over the recruitment and retention of nursing staff and 12 months on, there are growing concerns around the worsening of the issue.”

“The nurse vacancy level is 28 per cent up from 18 per cent last year, a very concerning trend, which demonstrates the average service is forced to operate with more than a quarter of its stable nurse workforce missing.

“In 2015, 66 per cent of organisations were struggling to fill posts. Now it’s 98 per cent.

“Recruitment and retention difficulties have detrimental implications for continuity of care and requires high cost solutions such as nurse agency use to meet safe staffing levels.”

The biggest problem identified in the report is an insufficient supply of nurses.

Dr Macaskill said: “This raises questions about whether current student nurse intake levels are sufficient.”

He added: “More nurses are being recruited from the EU by service providers – with 35 per cent of organisations doing so this year compared to 14 per cent last year. Brexit is likely to have significant implications and present even more difficulties in filling nurse posts in the future.

“In addition, 17 per cent of providers hire nurses from outwith the EU – up from five per cent in the previous survey.”

Dr Macaskill continued:

“We’re facing an immediate challenge in relation to the shortage of nurses working in our care homes.  Whilst the general shortage of nurses is a serious issue, we also need to look at why many people, nurses and other professions, are not choosing to work in care homes.  We need to attract more people to work in the social care sector and articulate the many benefits of doing so.  These measures require us to work with Scottish Government and other partners, including colleges, universities and health and social care partnerships to find solutions to this challenge.

“We need to work with a range of people and organisations to make social care an attractive career path, and also to make sure they understand how brilliant our care homes can be to live and work in.  We need to stop talking down care homes and start celebrating them.  They are about extraordinary  people living ordinary lives, and they present a vast range of opportunities for personal and professional development for those working in the sector.”

“As part of addressing these challenges, we are delighted that we will be announcing the launch of Care Home Week 2017 at the conference – a new initiative to raise awareness of care homes, celebrate the people that live and work in them, bust the myths that exist around care homes and to tell their many good news stories.  The week will take place from 12-18 June 2017 and will incorporate Care Home Open Day on Friday 16 June.

“What’s more, Scottish Care has the privilege of screening ‘Directed by North Merchiston’ at the Care Home Conference – a series of films commissioned by Luminate (Scotland’s creative ageing festival) and Scottish Care celebrating care home residents.  The series of 5 short films depict BAFTA award winning documentary filmmaker Duncan Cowles working with residents in North Merchiston Care Home in Edinburgh to make films about subjects of the residents’ choice, with amusing and extremely touching results. They depict the reality of the stories, relationships, love and laughter that our care homes are centred around.”

  • Scottish Care has entered into a partnership agreement with the Clydesdale Bank for a period of 3 years. The agreement will see the organisations work together for the benefit of the independent care sector in Scotland with the  bank supporting a number of Scottish Care events and initiatives. Scottish Care Chief Executive, Dr Donald Macaskill said, “I am delighted to welcome Clydesdale  Bank into a partnership agreement with Scottish Care. Our membership covers the length and breadth of Scotland and we are pleased to enter into a new relationship, which goes beyond our sponsor supporting our annual, Care Home Conference and Awards.  We look forward to the next three years when we will work with colleagues in Clydesdale to ensure that at a time of significant change and flux in the care sector we are both able to support our distinctive pieces of work.  We hope this will be seen in our joint working including through seminars and workshops which will run throughout the country.”

Last Updated on 18th November 2016 by Scottish Care

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