Adult social care in the UK is “close to breaking point” according to the managing director of Sentinel Care Services – who is leading talks to help ease the crisis.
Steve Harris has worked in the care industry for nearly 20 years and says the situation is extremely difficult across the whole of the country.
Here at Sentinel, we provide home care services for people within their own homes in Shropshire and Staffordshire, helping to reduce the burden on hospitals and residential care homes.
But Steve says a national shortage of staff coming into the profession is having a serious impact on the care industry and health service as a whole.
Steve is chairman of the Domiciliary Care Providers Forum in Staffordshire, and recently met the county council, along with other service providers, to discuss the situation.
“The contract for home care service providers in Staffordshire is up for re-tendering next year, so we wanted to sit down with the council to see how we might be able to change the delivery of care in the future,” he says.
“The system is close to breaking point across the whole of the UK due to a lack of staff – and of course a lack of funding for local authorities in general.
“There are many factors at work here, including Brexit, which has led to higher prices for goods manufactured abroad, plus the National Living Wage and the financial restriction councils are under.
“That’s not just my view, the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), David Behan, used the commission’s annual report published in October to urge the Government to invest more money into the care sector.
“He said the home care services sector was reaching a ‘tipping point’ because there is not enough provision of care for people when they are ready to come out of hospital.
“There are not enough spaces in care homes, but more importantly the industry needs more capacity to provide care for people in their own homes – but it can only do that if it has enough staff available to do so.
“We are doing everything we can at Sentinel to encourage people from all walks of life to consider care as a career choice – it can be a hugely rewarding job and is accessible to everyone, whether they are just coming out of school or are close to retirement.”
Steve says the talks with Staffordshire County Council have gone well, and he hopes to have similar discussions with local authorities in Shropshire in the future.
“I think everyone in the care industry appreciates that councils are under immense pressure,” he says.
“Some of the topics of discussion related to how the council can help providers to be more efficient by commissioning differently and more effectively.
“We are also looking at what impact electronic monitoring is having on the financial and operational performance of providers and how that can be eased.
“The council in turn wants us to be more flexible and work on jointly building capacity to meet the growing need through different commission models.
“We are keen to bring our knowledge and experience to the table so we can all work together to improve the situation for everyone.”
If anyone is interested in working in the care industry, they can contact the team at Sentinel Care Services on 0845 129 8157.