The ongoing workforce crisis in social care needs urgent action ahead of bleak winter

Natasha Curry responds to the CQC report on the state of health care and adult social care in England.

Press release

Published: 22/10/2021

Responding to the CQC report The state of health care and adult social care in England 2020/21, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said:

“The ongoing impact of the pandemic has made a fraught situation in social care much worse. Social care providers, particularly in home care, have warned the system is weeks away from collapse, and it is stretched and exhausted care workers under pressure at the heart of this.

“The ongoing workforce crisis in social care has contributed to the deterioration of the sector. It is shocking that the sector has been left to struggle to the point where even the most basic care cannot be delivered to all those eligible for help. The CQC highlights that adult care staff are being competed for, not just within care, but by other retail and hospitality jobs with similar rates of pay. There are many barriers to improving this situation. The pandemic has left staff burnt out and exhausted, pay and conditions remain unattractive compared to other sectors, the door to international recruitment has been slammed shut, and a mandatory vaccine policy threatens to remove thousands of needed staff from the sector.

“If the government does not take urgent action, the consequences will be felt by those in need of care and their families. We risk the quality of care falling and the brunt of caring duties forced on unpaid carers who have already given so much during this difficult time.

“While more money has been promised to support getting people out of hospital into care, the sector can’t deliver this without more care staff. The £5.4bn of funding announced by the government in September will come too late and will do nothing to stabilise the situation going into a very bleak winter. Social care desperately needs to see support from next week’s spending review; the people who urgently need care cannot wait for white papers.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate.
  2. For all queries or to arrange an interview, contact:
    1. Simon Keen: 07780 475571 /; or
    2. Meesha Patel: 07920 043676 /