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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Social care staffing problems escalate as Brexit looms

This news post is over 4 years old

Social care bodies already struggling to fill vacancies have found it even more difficult to recruit staff in the last year

More than half of social care bodies have found it more difficult to recruit nursing staff over the last year, and two thirds have found it increasingly difficult to recruit social care staff, according to a new Scottish Government commissioned report.

And social care bodies fear Brexit will have a devastating impact on their workforce making it even harder to recruit and retain good-quality staff, according to the Ipsos Mori study.

A survey of 1,500 employers in adult social care and childcare found that as Brexit looms problems with recruitment and retention of staff in social care are getting worse.

The report was carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government to investigate the role of EU workers in the sector and the impact of Brexit. It found that EU nationals make up 5.6% of the work force, currently around 9,830 people.

Of those 3,150 are involved in caring for adults at home and 2,290 provide childcare services. A total of 16.5% of all staff for nurse agencies come from the EU.

Camphill Scotland, which provides care services for people with learning disabilities, says 40% of its workforce comes from the EU.

Neil Henery, chief executive of Camphill Scotland, said: “There is nothing new in this report. Around 40% of our total workforce come from other European countries. Brexit could therefore have devastating consequences for us and for the 600 people with learning disabilities and other support needs who rely on Camphill.

“The Brexit process has already unsettled European workers who have lived here for many years and is effectively deterring new applicants.”

Managers of care services interviewed for the study said the UK’s decision to leave the EU meant they were worried about future recruitment and retention problems.

They also felt they lacked information on Brexit’s potential impacts and how to help workers.

All EU workers interviewed wanted to stay in Scotland, but were confused about eligibility for temporary residency status.

Scotland’s Brexit minister Mike Russell said: “This report is yet another illustration of the lack of appreciation the UK Government has about the impact of Brexit on both our public services and the highly-skilled and hard-working EU nationals who help deliver them.

“Added to this is the clear confusion among managers and workers from European nations about the future, again exposing Westminster’s lack of forethought and planning. I strongly urge the UK Government to act to provide clarity to all those facing uncertain futures, not least the almost 10,000 delivering care services to the people of Scotland.”

Overall, the report found EU nationals in Scotland’s adult social care and childcare are considered highly qualified, committed to caring and have a willingness to go the extra mile.

The report highlighted the impact of leaving the EU on the nursing workforce as a particular threat.

Ellen Hudson, Royal College of Nursing Scotland associate director, said: “Depending on the settlement that the UK government negotiates, the flow of EU nationals could be impacted. This could cause a major problem for staffing in the NHS and other health and social care organisations, either directly through new restrictions, or indirectly because EU-born staff may choose to leave the UK due to the uncertainty created before new rules are put in place on migration restriction.

“The impact of Brexit on the nursing workforce, therefore, needs to be carefully considered to protect an already overstretched health and care services.”

Social care services were already reporting recruitment problems last year. A Care Inspectorate report in autumn 2017 found almost half of all services faced difficulties recruiting staff. A third had reported unfilled vacancies in the previous year. In total 64% of care at home services said they had problems recruiting staff and 61% of nurse agencies reported problems.

In April this year, a coalition of 65 organisations from across social care called for an independent reviewinto how Brexit would affect the sector.



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over 4 years ago
is it really to do with brexit when it comes to social care staff or is it their t & c ? - poorly paid, holiday and sickness conditions being eroded, working unsociable hrs including xmas/new year, weekends, overnight etc