The government should give the social care workforce with a £1000 bonus to help HR teams keep them in the sector, says the chief executive of NHS Employers.

Earlier this year, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) released a snap survey which said there 1.5 million jobs in social care in England, with at least 105,000 of them being vacant.

ADASS President, Stephen Chandler called for social care wages to be above the national living wage. He said the retention bonus would help care workers feel valued: “We need recognition over the coming months of the brilliant job that care workers do, if we are to keep them and get through what is going to be a very difficult winter.”

Prime Minister announces new Covid measures

Boris Johnson announced new safety measures this weekend, which will be in place from tomorrow. 

This includes mask wearing in public places, ensuring booster jabs for everyone and stricter travel restrictions. 

With many offices having opened up for workers since the summer, the rules there are unclear. 

However, when asked what the holiday season would look like for people this year, the Prime Minister said: “Im pretty confident-to-absolutely-confident this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas.” 

Meanwhile, Dr Layla McCay director of policy at the NHS Confederation said workers need support to be able to isolate when needed. “We can all help to reduce the spread of this disease by regularly testing ourselves, wearing masks in enclosed spaces and keeping indoor spaces well ventilated. It is imperative we all make sure we have two doses of coronavirus vaccine and a booster or third dose when invited.”

She added: “As we learn more about the omicron variant, it is critical that there is clear communication with the public about what is needed from them and why. Now is not the time for ambiguity.”

TUC calls for 2022 wage rise for everyone

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady, meanwhile,  also called for a rise in wages, but wants this to happen across the board. 

She said: “Given more workers may now need to self-isolate, we need to protect them from financial hardship. Ministers must raise sick pay to the level of the Living Wage and make sure every worker can get it.  

Mr Chandler, meanwhile, warned that care workers needed to be shown they’re valued or they would leave the sector with very stark consequences: “We have to ensure that no one goes without vital care and support.”

He added: “Without action now, the pressures on the NHS and family carers will grow and there is a real risk of people suffering indignity and harm and dying alone.” 

Social care staff need more help to stay in the job

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers and deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation agrees with ADASS on the £1000 retention bonus. He said there is huge pressure on adult social care, with a backlog that will get worse. 

His warnings are bleak: “For social care more generally the government must act immediately to stem the loss of more care workers this winter and the social care workforce should be awarded a £1000 retention bonus.”

Mr Mortimer also called on the government to publish a long-term health and social care workforce plan.

He also said: “Staff in the social care system are working flat out to ensure people get the care they need. The challenges they face have been unsustainable for some time. There can be no further delay.”