Council directors have warned social care needs new recruits to support its exhausted workforce and ensure that vital services do not collapse as the pandemic hits a new peak.
According to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) there are now ‘alarming gaps’ appearing in social care teams as workers catch Covid themselves, self isolate or deal with fatigue.
The organisation estimates there were 112,000 vacancies in social care prior to the pandemic, but it says extra funding is urgently needed to pay for additional staff and care.
ADASS has issued an urgent plea for anyone with experience of care work to consider returning to the job to help the care sector get through the coming weeks.
‘Like our NHS colleagues, social care workers have never been under such pressure. They are doing more than ever before, but absences are high and rising and our capacity to keep vital services going is at grave risk,’ said ADASS president, James Bullion.
‘We need funding, now, to enable care providers to recruit extra skilled pairs of hands and we are asking anyone who has done care work in the past to think very seriously about returning to help us get through this. Every single person who steps forward will be making a huge contribution.’
ADASS has asked for an additional £480m in England to increase provision of care at home for older and disabled people so that they can live independently, with good support, and can be kept out of hospital for as long as possible.
The association is also seeking extra help for family carers who are providing the most intense support for loved ones. It says an extra direct payment of £50 a week for carers during the worst of the pandemic to enable them to pay for respite breaks and keep going until the pandemic eases.
‘The extraordinary courage and dedication shown by our 1.5 million care workers during the Covid-19 crisis must be recognised,’ added Mr Bullion.
‘The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the essential contribution they make to our society for such relatively low reward.’
Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)