As a Court of Protection Deputy, one of the things I regularly have to do is source care for vulnerable individuals. That care might be privately funded, or local authority funded. It might be temporary whilst someone is recovering from an illness or injury, or it might be a permanent need. It might be in a care home, or it might be in a client’s property through one carer popping in occasionally or a whole team providing 24-hour care.
Almost universally, the frontline staff working with clients do so with grace, hard work, determination, and the person requiring care are front and centre in their thoughts and considerations.
It is a sad but unsurprising fact to read about the shortages of care staff, the concerns around staff recruitment and retention, the impact of this in terms of working hours and pressure on those delivering and coordinating care.
I don't have solutions to propose - but one thing I do know is that the value of carers to society, recognition of the real, valuable and personalised difference they make on a daily basis and appreciation of the skills, knowledge and experience of front-line care staff is nowhere near as high as it should be - and remuneration levels do not match the importance of the services provided.
Change in this sector will not come overnight, which means that I and other deputies - as well as families, local authorities and others, will continue to experience issues around sourcing and securing care for people and that in turn may mean that people end up staying in institutional settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and care homes for longer than they might strictly need - and in some cases a move to institutional care might be the only way of securing safe and appropriate care.
I hope those charged with looking at and supporting this important sector of our workforce can find solutions that improve the deal for carers, the attractiveness of this as a fulfilling career path and in turn the outcomes for all those that need care now - and all of us who may need care in the future.
Care sector bosses in England are struggling to recruit staff, with more jobs unfilled than before the pandemic, says a leading industry body. The number of unfilled jobs fell at the start of the pandemic but rose this year as the economy opened up, suggests analysis by Skills for Care. Employers are also finding it harder to keep existing staff, the report finds. The government says extra funding and a regular recruitment drive will help boost the workforce.