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DHSC launches campaign to fill 110,000 vacancies in adult social care sector


By Valeria Fiore
Reporter
13 February 2019

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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a campaign that it hopes will help fill the gap in the adult social care workforce.

Launched yesterday, the Every Day Is Different campaign aims at filling the 110,000 vacancies in the adult social care sector by showing how rewarding working in the social care sector can be.

The campaign will run through social media, digital, local radio advertising and events across England in February and March, mostly targeting people aged between 20 and 39.

It will focus on attracting new people with the right values to work in the sector, highlighting the different roles people can cover within social care and providing the social care sector with tips on how to recruit and retain social care staff.

Adult social care charities have welcomed the launch of the campaign but said more needs to be done to prevent current staff from leaving their jobs.

There are currently more than 1.45 million people employed in the social care sector at present, but a further 650,000 are expected to be needed by 2035 due to our ageing population, the DHSC said.

The launch of the campaign tied in with the release of a report by healthcare think tank the Health Foundation, which found that workforce shortages in primary and community care could undermine the long term plan’s ambition to keep people out of hospital.

High turnover rate

George McNamara, director of policy and influencing at charity Independent Age welcomed the campaign but added that it should not be seen as a ‘silver bullet’.

He said: ‘The number of vacancies is only half the story: the social care sector’s turnover rate is twice the national average, with almost 1,000 workers quitting their job every day.’

According to figures published in September 2018 by the adult social care employers’ charity Skills for Care, the staff turnover rate in the sector is 30.7%, ‘equivalent to around 390,000 leavers in the previous 12 months’.

Mr McNamara added: ‘Solely focussing on recruitment, without also addressing staff retention, will severely limit the impact of the campaign.’

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK also welcomed the DHSC campaign but said ‘it needs to be coupled with a raft of measures to improve the status, terms and conditions of the job’.

The adult social care sector faces a £3.6bn funding gap, according to the Local Government Association but local authorities were only allocated a £650m funding grant for social care in 2019/20, as part of the 2018 Budget.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Minister of State for Care Caroline Dinenage said: ‘Adult social care is too often seen as the “Cinderella service” to our NHS. I’m determined to change this perception, starting with our hardworking social care workforce.’

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