Social care workforce

Social care sector crucial to our success, emphasises NHS as new workforce plan launches

Welsh government minister Dawn Bowden has officially launched the country’s social care workforce delivery plan for the next three years, building on work since the pandemic.

The plan sets out the actions that will be taken as part of A Healthier Wales: Our Workforce Strategy for Health and Social Care, which was launched in the autumn of 2020.

The plan has been split up into seven themes:

  • An engaged, motivated and healthy workforce
  • Attraction and recruitment
  • Seamless workforce models
  • Building a digitally ready workforce
  • Excellent education and learning
  • Leadership and succession
  • Workforce supply and shape

The document details the progress that has been made in the last four years, how that progress will be built on, and to what ultimate goal.

Some of the actions include establishing a framework that ensures parity, fair reward and recognition among the social care workforce, as well as a retention framework to help keep the best talent.

Other measures featured in the plan are carrying out a digital literacy assessment with the Welsh social care sector and developing a training ‘passport’ to help recognition.

Care Inspectorate Wales and Social Care Wales are also expected to publish a principles of positive cultures document this year to help service leaders embed best practice.

Darren Hughes comment

Dawn Bowden, Welsh social care minister, acknowledged there are no quick fixes but is committed to driving the change that the sector needs and deserves.

“The Social Care Workforce Delivery Plan has, crucially, been shaped by the insight and experiences of the workforce,” said Bowden. “It will ensure there is a shared understanding and vision for how we move forward together, to address the challenges that face our social care workers.”

Sue Evans, CEO at Social Care Wales, added: “This ambitious delivery plan is the social care sector’s call to action.

“It will allow us to continue working together, both in the short and long term, on what needs to be done to tackle workforce challenges and support the workforce and their well-being while they provide quality support.”

Darren Hughes, director the Welsh NHS Confederation, emphasised that the NHS and the social care sector are inextricably linked, with progress needed in both areas for a positive way forward.

He said: “NHS leaders will welcome the publication of the Social care workforce delivery plan and appreciate the work that’s gone into developing the plan.

“The fragility of the social care sector is one of the biggest challenges facing the health and wellbeing of our population.

“The NHS and social care are inextricably linked. The social care workforce plays a crucial role in supporting people remain independent for longer, preventing hospital admissions and supporting faster, safer discharges home.”

Fair pay, terms and conditions for the social care workforce are “vital” for retention and vacancy ambitions, as well as long-term sustainability, added Hughes.

Social Care Wales’ improvement and development director (and incoming CEO), Sarah McCarty, confirmed that a national strategic implementation group will be established to bring the plan’s ambitions into practice.

She said: “We’d like to thank everyone who contributed and helped shape the workforce delivery plan. We’re looking forward to working with our partners across the sector to put the actions in place.”

Image credit: iStock

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