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UNISON: 97 per cent of care employers suffering staff shortages

An overwhelming majority of social care workers say their care employer is experiencing staff shortages with burnout, overwork and pay among the main reasons cited, according to UNISON.

In a survey of 1,637 care workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the trade union found 97 per cent of respondents – 52 per cent of who work in care homes – believe their employer has insufficient human resources.

A total of 47 per cent said staffing shortages are having a negative impact on the care provided and 31 per cent that staffing levels are dangerously low, getting worse and having a negative impact on the care provided.

This compares with 20 per cent who said there are some staffing shortages but their workplace is managing, and one per cent who said the situation is fine and there are no serious staffing shortages.

Other findings from the survey include 67 per cent of staff saying they are thinking of leaving social care.

Of those thinking of leaving social care, the top reasons staff gave were burnout, stress, mental health and wellbeing (30 per cent), followed by better pay elsewhere or low pay (29 per cent) and compulsory vaccination (14 per cent).

Other reasons for wanting to quit included poor treatment by their employer (11 per cent) and overwork due to staffing shortages (ten per cent).

“Care workers are leaving in their droves – burnt out from the pandemic, exhausted from covering under-staffed shifts and fed up with low wages,” said UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea (pictured).

“This is nothing short of a nightmare for families worried about the care of their loved ones, overworked employees struggling to cope and employers concerned they won’t have the staff to stay open, she added.”

“Ministers should give all care employees some early festive cheer and announce an across-the-board pay rise. This would persuade many on the verge of quitting to stay and encourage more people to think seriously about working in social care.”

In a related development, UNSION is to ballot staff at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over possible strike action after being given no pay rise this year.

“CQC staff represented by UNISON have already shown by a clear majority ​that they are willing to take sustained action over their pay claim,” it said.

“They are to be formally balloted for action in the new year, with the ballot opening on 21 January.”




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