A new wheeze to put the squeeze on care homes
By Guest Blogger LEON SMITH
Executive vice president, Nightingale Hammerson
One of the great challenges in the care sector is staff recruitment. There is a direct correlation in recruiting quality staff with a number of factors which might include working conditions, pay rates, geographical location, unemployment levels etc. Recruitment is already difficult but it is going to get even more so – one could be forgiven a care providers’ paranoia in imagining civil servants coming into work in the morning and racking their brains for ways in which they could make life even more difficult for them!
The recruitment of care workers can be extremely frustrating and very expensive. Whilst it is possible to find high quality carers it is often necessary to process large numbers of applications before being able to appoint candidates who truly care. Yet the problems for those providing nursing care are even more extreme. There clearly is already a shortage of nurses in this country as evidenced by our need to import so many nurses from overseas. NHS pay rates are simply unaffordable to care home operators. The tax payer can afford it, but private operators, be they commercial or charitable, cannot.
Many care home providers seeking to recruit quality carers were, until several years ago able to look beyond the UK and Europe. This enabled staff to be recruited from the Caribbean, Africa, the Philippines and elsewhere. This opportunity was however closed, and it is now virtually impossible to recruit from beyond the EU. Therefore what a wonderful new wheeze it was to make it even more difficult for us now to recruit nurses from beyond the EU.
We understand that as from 2017, all overseas non-EU nurses currently working in the UK will be asked to leave if their earning do not exceed £35,000. Obviously for a junior nurse, staff nurse or newly qualified nurses, this is simply not going to happen. As it is, attracting young nurses into our sector is very challenging. Many nurses are not attracted by “geriatric” care and wish to pursue careers which they consider to be more “sexy”. Even if the Government decided today that it was going to significantly expand the number of nurse training places in universities, how long would it be before these nurses were able to operate?
This new policy has obviously been introduced purely for political reasons and is simply going to heighten the problems and make life even more difficult and challenging in trying to provide quality care for vulnerable adults in need of nursing care.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.