195,000 migrant care workers ‘may be needed by 2030’

Posted on: 11.01.2010    17:25:29

Alistair Darling announced in his pre-Budget statement that the financing for social care will rise to £1.4 billion by 2010.

The announcement followed a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which reported that adult social care has improved, but more still needs to be done to eliminate the remaining areas of poor quality service.

According to the review, a quarter of local authorities were rated adequate in terms of giving people choice and control over their care.

Nevertheless, 95 per cent of councils were found to be performing excellently well in the way they commissioned adult social care, up from 87 per cent the previous year.

According to the CQC, 77 per cent of care facilities, home care agencies, nursing agencies and shared lives schemes are rated as excellent or good, compared to 69 per cent in 2008.

However, 400 regulated adult social care services were found to be offering poor quality supervision and 3,500 were rated as only adequate. In care homes for older people, a fifth were deemed by regulators to have failed to meet the standard on social contact and activities.

“It’s good to see the steady improvements and this should be recognised,” commented Cynthia Bower, chief executive of the CQC.

“However, I am concerned that many care homes and agencies have more to do to deliver the quality of care expected of them.

“Those affected should be absolutely clear that we will be very persistent in ensuring they take action in the run up to registration and afterwards, using all the new powers that will be at our disposal.”

The report recommended that local authorities need to help get rid of poor quality care be purchasing from providers more effectively

There is a concern as to how local authorities are going to be able to meet the targets set out by the government for domiciliary care, even with extra funding.

The national standards outline that a domiciliary care worker must be reliable, dependable, and flexible in the way they deal with their patients. This means that the care worker must arrive as close to the preferred time for an appointment as possible, with 30 minutes being the target time.

Furthermore, the patients should be visited by the same workers where possible, so that continuity of care is provided. Staff also need to be compatible with a patient’s requirements and the number of workers attending to each individual must relate to the amount of support they require.

Local authorities have been charged with monitoring case files, keeping a record of the staff and conducting review visits to ensure this continuity of care standard is being met.

One of the main sources of employment for the care industry over the past five to six years as been migrant workers. Recent research by Alessio Cangiano and Isabel Shutes entitled Migrant Workers in Older Adult Social Care: Unpacking the Nature of Labour Demand and Supply found that migrant workers account for 19 per cent of staff employed in the care of older people.

The report showed that 74 per cent of the adult care workforce is in the independent sector and 15 per cent work for, but are not necessarily employed by, individuals receiving direct payments.

It also revealed that the vacancy rate for care jobs is nearly double that for industrial, commercial and public sector employment, even despite the recession leading to slightly fewer jobs being available.

The ageing population means that a growth in demand for care, with 22 per cent of the population expected to be aged 65 years and over by 2030, up from 16 per cent in 2007.

In addition, the researchers cited estimates from Skills for Care suggesting that the adult social care workforce in England may need to grow from 1.39 million to 2.5 million by 2025.

Furthermore, just under half of employers responding to a survey conducted for the report said that they had found difficultly recruiting care staff and had therefore turned to employing migrant workers.

Although they said the problems finding UK-born employees was a reason for taking on staff from overseas, they also voiced “widespread appreciation” for migrant care workers.

Willingness to work all shifts, a good work ethic, more respectful attitude to older people and a readiness to learn new skills were all highlighted as advantages in taking on migrant care workers.

“Migrants are very respectful of the elderly, they’re very, very interested […] British workers don’t seem to show much interest in their past lives at all,” a manager of a residential care home in the south-east told the researchers.

“They come to work, they want to do the job and they want to go home […] [migrants] want to find out what these people did for a living, where they grew up and that makes a huge difference in giving self esteem and value to the elderly.”

The researchers estimated that the number of people working in older adult care would need to increase to 1,025,000 in 2030, with 195,000 of these likely to be migrant workers.


Author: Chris Slay

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