A four-month long inquiry into adult social care by the House of Commons Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee has revealed that 48% of care staff leave their jobs within a year of starting.
The report also revealed that the social care sector replaced 36% of its nurses each year.
The committee has urged Government to address “serious threats” to social care provision, and “urgently review” how social care is funded in the longterm.
The report states: “Unless significant extra funds are provided in the short and medium terms, the social care system will be unable to cope with the demands placed upon it. Extra funding alone will not solve the problems that face us, but without it the other steps we have suggested [social care] will quite simply fail.”
The report also identified “severe” shortages and challenges within the sector, which accounted for high vacancy and turnover rates, resulting from low pay which didn’t appreciate the importance of the work, lack of training, poor employment terms and conditions and not enough opportunities for career progression. The report also found that 49% of home care workers were on zero hour contracts. The average workforce percentage nationally is just 3%.
The committee welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s commitment to provide an additional £2 billion for social care over the next three years, but said that it simply wasn’t enough to close the social care funding gap.
Committee chair Clive Betts said: “A long-term fix, working on a cross-party basis and involving the public and social care sector, is urgently necessary to meet the ever-increasing demographic pressures on the system.
“This review must be ambitious and consider a wide range of potential funding sources, looking again at age-related expenditure, options such as a hypothecated tax for social care, a compulsory insurance scheme, and differences in how individuals contribute.”
Recommendations by the committee include a standard process for assessing care costs, taking into account local variations in wage rates, to set fair prices that reflect costs, along with councils regularly carrying out spot checks to ensure that people are receiving the care they require and ensure providers are paying staff the national minimum wage and covering care workers’ total costs.