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By Debbie le Quesne

Care workforce forecast showing 1m shortfall

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The social care sector could face a shortfall of a million workers in the next 20 years, I’m informed.

The system for adults in England faces a gap of 200,000 care workers by the end of this parliament due to restrictions on immigration and a failure to attract British workers, a report from the charity Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), warns.

It adds that this figure will grow unless efforts are made to recruit more overseas staff and retain those already working.

Almost one in five adult social care workers (18.4 per cent) in England were born outside the UK, including 150,000 working in residential care homes.

People from outside the EU account for the largest percentage of migrants working in adult social care – around one in every seven care workers.

And we must also be aware that almost one in 20 (4.8 per cent) of positions in adult social care in England are vacant. That’s nearly twice the rate in the UK’s labour force as a whole.

Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, is reported as saying: “Without action, there is a real risk of care services worsening as providers fail to fill job vacancies and staff struggle to cope with increasing demand.”

Depressing, or what? But there’s a common chorus in this report we’ve all heard before: The Government must use its influence to invest in social care so it can attract more UK workers, while at the same time exploring new ways of caring for our ageing population in the future.

I’m afraid the tiresome response of the D of H is predictable. Cue keywords “better” and “smarter”.

Frankly, I think all of our care providers have done better than expected and indeed, are pretty smart to still survive in such crippling economic conditions.

What does appear to be an obvious question, however, is this: How are all these extra carers going to be paid? From where will this funding come? No doubt the Government has factored in the numbers (joke).

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