NHS Employers warns social care could collapse without international recruitment

NHS Employers, the employers’ organisation for the NHS in England, warns that the country’s social care system could collapse without recruiting internationally for staff.

The organisation has called for the government to outline “stopgap plans” for the social care workforce on the back of a poll by the Institute for Public Policy Research and YouGov that found one in five healthcare workers were likely to leave their jobs after the pandemic ends.

NHS Employers also was responding to announcements earlier this week about the UK health and care visa. Social care workers were omitted from plans for a post-Brexit fast-track health visa. This week’s announcements leaves “a potential staffing blackhole” for social care, said Danny Mortimer, CEO of NHS Employers and deputy CEO of the NHS Confederation.

“We continue to believe there is an urgent need to recruit internationally into care worker posts – otherwise the system could collapse,” Mortimer said in a statement. “Of course, international recruitment won’t solve the problem on its own, but it is impossible to grow the domestic workforce overnight.”

Currently, 17% of the social care workforce is from outside the UK. Others critical of the government’s omission of care workers from the fast-track visa include the UNISON union and organisations representing providers.

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