Scottish Care comments on Care Inspectorate Report on Workforce Shortages

The Care Inspectorate has published a report ‘Staff Vacancies in Care Services 2016’

This report highlights that over 80% of care services in Scotland are judged to be good, very good or excellent in respect of the quality of care they provide. Inspectors regularly identify that stable and consistent staff teams are an important component of high quality social care which supports people well.

However more than a third of social care services across Scotland have reported unfilled staff vacancies in the past year. Some key figures from the report revealed:

  • At 31 December 2016, 41% of services with vacancies reported having problems filling them; up 2 percentage points from the previous year.
  • Particularly high proportions of the following types of services reported problems filling vacancies: care at home services (64%), care homes for older people (57%), care homes for adults (49%) and housing support services (48%).
  • Aberdeen (57%), Perth and Kinross (52%) and Fife (51% of services) had the highest proportion of services reporting that vacancies were hard to fill.
  • Too few applicants with experience (58%), too few applicants in general (58%) and too few qualified applicants (50%) were the most common themes within most service types reported for why vacancies were hard to fill.

Karen Reid, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said:

“Most people in Scotland experience high quality care which is down to the dedication, professionalism and commitment of the social care workforce. Our evidence shows that people benefit from an effective and stable staff team which allows people experiencing care to build trusting relationships with the people supporting them.”

These findings completely mirror the research which has been conducted by Scottish Care in the last year. They highlight a real crisis in recruitment and retention, not least in older people’s care.

Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care, in responding to the report said:

“Social care in Scotland faces a fundamental crisis. The Care Inspectorate report together with our own work at Scottish Care states quite clearly that we are at the point of services becoming unsustainable and unable to deliver given the current recruitment and workforce crisis. The entire fabric of social care will begin to disintegrate without serious intervention and this will have a profound effect on the sustainability of wider health and social care supports.

Scottish Care has been warning about the workforce crisis for some time. We have spoken out about the unsustainable levels of contracts for care at home and housing support provision which are forcing many organisations to turn down work or leave the sector completely. Care homes are equally faced with the combined challenges of new regulation, workforce vacancies, increased use of agencies, Brexit and levels of fee income that are simply not sufficient.

The average social care worker earns the Scottish Living wage [£8.45 an hour. Given that you can earn a few pounds more stacking shelves in a supermarket. It’s not really surprising that individuals are choosing less demanding jobs that offer more money.

We’ve reached a point where we need to undertake an urgent review of how we give value to those who work in the sector. We need to offer them a proper sense of worth and the feeling that they are contributing to the greater good of society. Ultimately, we need to improve pay. When you have bills to pay, you’re going to go to a job that pays you more, no matter how rewarding you find social care.

Social care needs to become a priority for the whole of Scotland and not just a party political issue. We cannot continue to deliver quality care on the inadequate resources the public purse is contributing. Given the equal realities of austerity and the choices that that has led to it is time for all of us to start talking not about what we can afford but what the true cost of care is. Care with dignity should not be at the cost of a stretched and dedicated workforce. It is time to care about care.”


Last Updated on 18th October 2017 by Scottish Care

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