Written evidence submitted by Rapport Housing & Care (RTR0014)
Rapport Housing & Care exists to establish, manage and improve houses and homes that provide residential and supported accommodation with care and companionship for elderly or disabled people throughout Kent and the London Borough of Bromley.
The current workforce crisis is having a considerable impact on the organisation and whilst efforts by the Government to mitigate the effect have reduced the severity, unfortunately, it has not resolved the issue as we continue to struggle to employ workers.
Our principal competitor is the retail industry and we feel that additional funding should be made available to make social care more appealing to potential workers. In order to remain competitive and continue to attract local authority along with NHS funded residents we are compelled to keep pay rates restrained. To give a comparison, our nursing home in Tonbridge pays £9.21 to £9.49 an hour for day care staff, which is essentially comparable with most providers in the area, in a number of cases retail employers nearby are able to pay a higher hourly rate – below are some examples of jobs that are currently being advertised locally:
Lidl - £9.50 to £10.70
ASDA - £12.63
Furthermore, the requirements to enter and remain in social care are demanding as applicants must pass a medical fitness assessment as well as obtain a satisfactory Data & Barring Service (DBS) certificate and had the double Covid-19 vaccination to gain employment. If successful, care workers are statutorily required to have ongoing DBS checks in addition to completing the following training annually:
It should also be remembered that workers in nursing/care homes are caring for some of the most vulnerable members of society providing end of life care involving physical along with emotional support to the residents and their family. Whilst we would not want to diminish the role of retail workers, we feel that the entry requirements along with the technical skills plus ongoing statutory requirements and overall level of responsibility is such that it should warrant greater financial reward.
We welcome the Government announcement on 24 December 2021 that care workers would be added to the Home Office’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL) for visa purposes. Disappointingly, we feel this will be insufficient to resolve this matter as applicants will need to be on a minimum annual salary of £20,480 to qualify for the Health and Care visa which is unaffordable for most providers as mentioned above regarding pay restraint in order to attract local authority along with NHS funded residents.
The Government’s launch of the "People at the heart of care: adult social care reform white paper" last month is encouraging, but we feel that the £500M for the workforce over three years will be inadequate mindful that the Department of Health & Social Care has provided £462.5M during the last 22 months since the Covid-19 pandemic commenced and it has not resolved the issue.
The consequence of these immense staff shortages is that, despite having empty beds, we are compelled to decline admissions, a number of which are waiting to be discharged from hospital. This is substantially impacting our income following considerable financial losses over the last 22 months because of Covid-19. As an example, over the last three months our nursing home in Tonbridge has declined approximately 50 enquiries because of insufficient staffing. Assuming they were suitable for admission following assessment, the financial loss of revenue equates to approximately £3.8M per annum (50 x £1,475 per week x 52 weeks) – this figure is based on the medium fee level and doesn’t allow for some residents whose fees may have been higher or lower because of their care needs. This home is receiving calls almost daily from Tunbridge Wells Hospital wanting to discharge patients.
Chief Executive Officer