Government launches urgent recruitment drive to fill social care shortages

Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor

The Government is launching an urgent campaign to recruit more social care staff in England to fill gaps left by staff forced to self-isolate due to the pandemic.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is urging the unemployed, volunteers and people on furlough to register to fill in for short-term gaps in the sector.

The call goes out amid concerns that absence rates among care home staff have doubled in recent months as people are required to quarantine due to coronavirus.

Opportunities include personal care – helping people to wash and dress – providing wellbeing support or simply collecting and delivering supplies or helping out with the cooking and cleaning.

The DHSC said that exact roles would be based on individual experience and local need and would be at the discretion of the local authority or care provider concerned.

At the same time, the Government is mounting a new advertising campaign to highlight the long-term career prospects in the sector.

Coronavirus – Mon Feb 8, 2021
Boris Johnson said that it offered tough but rewarding’ opportunities for those considering a career caring for others (Phil Noble/PA)

Boris Johnson said that it offered “tough but rewarding” opportunities for those considering a career caring for others.

“Throughout this pandemic, they have gone above and beyond to protect our parents and grandparents, and to provide them with the support and care they need and we would be truly lost without them,” he said.

“This exceptional career choice is tough but rewarding, and I would urge anyone who is thinking of a career in care to come forward and join this heroic workforce.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are doing everything we can to support the adult social care sector throughout this pandemic and our social care workforce have done an incredible job of helping the most vulnerable in society.

“I am urging the public – whether you are a job-seeker, or looking for a new career – to consider working in care.

“We need short term support while we face the pandemic and to continue to recruit the right people, with the right values, now and into the future.”

The DHSC said that it would pass on details of those who register an interest online with the short-term scheme to their local authority and care providers in their area, who would then contact candidates directly.

Those who are taken on will be given suitable training – including in infection prevention controls and use of PPE – and offered a vaccination as priority key workers.

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