Local authorities will soon be able to access £162.5m of new funding to help workforce retention and recruitment among adult social care roles, in a move hoped to help ensure those who need it can receive care in the community and alleviate some of the burden on the health service.
The same as in the NHS, adult social care has operated with a significant workforce shortage for many years, in some cases reducing the capacity or quality of care able to be delivered in care homes and by adult social care providers.
The £162.5m workforce funding will sit atop another £388m funding pot already outlined in September 2021 for infection control.
It could soon see tens of thousands of additional carers recruited to support the workforce through local recruitment initiatives.
The ring-fenced funding will be available until the end of March 2022 and, alongside supporting the recruitment of new staff by local authorities and providers, it will also help bolster staff retention – helping with overtime payments and staff banks of people ready to work in social care.
By supporting and bolstering the adult social care workforce, the health and wellbeing of those who need it can be supported and prevent avoidable complications, which can often lead to hospital admissions.
Equally, it will allow some care homes and support services to run at a higher capacity, helping support hospital discharges of some stable patients to suitable environments.
This adult social care funding is part of a series of measures in the short and longer term to support social care and ensure the right number of staff, with the necessary skills to deliver high quality care, are available to meet rising demand.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I want to thank care workers for their commitment and tireless efforts throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – we owe them a debt of gratitude which I am determined to repay through ambitious, sustainable social care reform that prioritises their skills and wellbeing.
“This dedicated funding will help local authorities bolster staff numbers and care workers to continue delivering high-quality care for everyone who needs it.”
Minister for Care Gillian Keegan added: “The social care workforce has delivered high-quality care in the most challenging circumstances over the past 18 months – showing true dedication and professionalism – and I can’t thank them enough.
“This funding will help care providers recruit and retain staff, supporting both those already making a difference while bringing in new colleagues to help.
“Everyone deserves to be cared for with dignity and respect. This funding, as well as our wider reforms, will bring us closer to a world-leading social care system.”