Comment by Sarah Munday, operations director, Brook Street:
There is much focus on the social care sector and its vital role in delivering support during the COVID-19 crisis. Carers on the frontline see its importance first-hand.
It is positive that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has commended care workers across the country for the crucial service they provide. Establishing a dedicated care sector supply chain will be welcomed as will setting up a life assurance scheme for the families of NHS and social care workers who pay the ultimate price.
The recent announcement of a campaign to attract 20,000 new care workers over the coming three months only serves to underline the importance of the sector. Attracting and retaining that talent in this critical time will be a challenge – and never more so than in the domiciliary care sector.
But the sector faces many challenges - research from IPPR last week reveals the impact the current crisis is having on care workers and the need to ensure the safety and well-being of all. Most worrying is that nearly one in five care workers are looking to leave the sector once the crisis is over. This could equate to as many as 300,000 workers leaving the sector.
The care industry plays a crucial role in the battle to fight COVID-19 – it must work hand-in-hand with the NHS. It needs proper resourcing and a long-term plan to strengthen the provision of services.
Central to this will be addressing talent – the sector has never been more high profile but the issues it faces threatens to dampen its attractiveness as a career option. This is not something that can be addressed overnight but will need to be carefully considered and addressed by everyone in the sector.