With health and social care staff shortages at an all-time high, temporary care staff recruiters are on the front line of one of the UK’s biggest workforce crises. With Skills for Care citing 90,000 social care vacancies across England on average every day, care homes are becoming increasingly reliant on high quality temporary workers to cover shifts.
The health and social care sector has faced enormous challenges in recent years, which have made it increasingly difficult for care homes to retain staff. According to last year’s Skills for Care report, vacancy rates for care workers in the statutory sector have jumped from 7.3% in 2012 to 11% in 2016. Moreover, the report shows that approximately 340,000 care workers are leaving their jobs every year. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show no signs of the problem going away, with health and social care vacancies taking up a disproportionate 15% of the UK’s total vacancies in January – March of 2017.
In the face of severe staff shortages, absences are often the last straw. Of course, factors such as sickness are an inevitable part of any workforce. In all workplaces, sickness leave naturally causes some loss in productivity. However, when it comes to care homes, absences pose a far greater risk. Care home managers are under strict requirements to replace absent staff immediately, otherwise they risk compromising the health, safety and wellbeing of their residents. They can also face serious legal issues for failing Health & Safety requirements. This unfortunately means that many care homes find themselves having to turn to agencies which provide substandard temporary staff. As a result, residents suffer from poor quality care and treatment.
At Prime Appointments, we have a pool of qualified, friendly and flexible temporary workers. We pride ourselves on our rigorous compliance procedures, which leaves no stone unturned. We conduct all of our candidate registrations face-to-face, and never resort to telephone interviews. As part of the registration and validation process, applicants are required to supply us with 5 years’ worth of references. We also ask candidates to verify any gaps in employment by providing job seeker/ ESA letter or a character reference from a person of a professional background. If needed, we can supply new candidates with mandatory training, including First Aid, SOVA (Safe guarding of vulnerable adults), moving and positioning, infection control, health & safety and dementia care.
“If people are new to care, they have to complete our 3 day intensive care course where they have the benefit and added quality of being taught by, not a just a trainer, but by an NMC Nurse Teacher. We also take considerable time before, during and after each course to feedback and offer support as to who may be suitable (or not) as healthcare workers.” Says experienced care staff recruiter, Gill Tye.
By continuing to cultivate close ties with our local care homes and applying an extremely selective recruitment procedure, we will continue to ensure that our clients, and their residents receive the best care possible.