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Coronavirus and Social Care UK

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Covid-19 isn’t just a healthcare crisis. It’s a social care disaster.

The current crisis in our healthcare system resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has been well documented, and shows no signs of abating. But this deadly virus has brought not just our primary health care system to breaking point, it has also put immense pressure on care homes and community care providers. 

As isolation enters its fifth week in the UK, thousands of vulnerable and frail people – not just those with the virus but those in care homes and requiring support in the community – are being placed at greater risk from a shortage of care staff to help them with their requirements of daily living. These needs could range from help with day-to-day tasks such as shopping, cleaning and paying bills, to help with personal care such as getting out of bed, washing and dressing. Not to mention crucial visits to relieve social isolation and depression.

One UK agency, Home Instead Senior Care UK - which delivers in excess of six million hours of care to over 21,000 vulnerable clients in the UK – is looking to recruit 3000 carers. Chief executive Martin Jones said: “The UK is under immense pressure due to COVID-19, and we want to ensure we can continue to commit to caring for our older clients following the government’s advice to remain at home. We are seeking those who have recently lost a role in hospitality, or retail that might have transferable skills.”

Another prominent UK agency, Caremark Limited, which supports 14,000 clients in their own homes, is recruiting 2,000 staff, whilst London-based Cera care is currently looking to employ 10,000 people around the UK to work in the home care sector. 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. With hundreds more cases reported each day in our residential and nursing care homes – among both residents and carers – the need for staff has never been greater.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has promised to prioritise the recruitment of 'tens of thousands' of social care staff, as part of a package of government measures aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 in care homes and reducing the risk to society’s most vulnerable.

These plans include improved testing and better access to PPE for social care workers. Mr Hancock said: "We need more people to return to social care, or choose to serve for the first time. To make that happen, we're strengthening our national recruitment campaign, with the aim of recruiting tens of thousands more people into social care. He added: "[the government] will pay for the initial induction training”. 

The move has been welcomed by the social care sector, which has been drastically affected by falling staffing levels since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. Many local councils have reported 25–50% reductions in staffing numbers, both in residential homes and among community carers. Local councils and private sector care providers are now launching massive recruitment campaigns to attract new staff, which could potentially include workers furloughed from other jobs.

As always, new recruits will be subject to appropriate criminal record checks, and will require induction training, but it is hoped that the government’s recent pledge to relax some of these checks during the Covid-19 crisis will help expedite the process.

As vulnerable people and over 70’s continue to self-isolate, and pressures on care homes and community care packages increase in order to free up essential hospital beds, the need for carers has never been greater. 

In order to prevent this essential industry from collapsing, we have to act now. Our software platform will help to speed up the lengthy verification and validation processes involved in hiring new staff. If you’d like to know more about how we can help, just give us a call on 0207 129 8652


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