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How Covid-19 has impacted the health & social care industry

18 Jan 2022

The health & social care industry has faced significant issues during the pandemic and its effects have especially been felt in recruitment.

It is estimated that around 490,000 more social care jobs will be needed by 2035.* With more care workers than ever leaving the sector, what can be done to find solutions to the current issues?

Many companies had to restrict their service delivery due to staff shortages during the pandemic and some also had to impose reduced opening hours. All the companies we talked to stated that they had difficulty in recruiting enough staff since the start of the pandemic and all of them reported that they are still short staffed.

One company commented that “we have never stopped working and the industry is in crisis for staff.”

The Challenges Ahead

We used our employer contacts to source ideas and information for overcoming the key challenges ahead as the country and economy adjusts to life with the pandemic and beyond.

1. How can the health & social care industry better retain staff?

Companies working in the health & social care industry have proposed that improving pay rates is the key factor in retaining staff in the industry.

Other efforts they have made to retain staff include using a ‘buddy scheme’ to match employees to talk about their experiences, problems and to alleviate the pressure on their mental and physical health.

Other solutions explored by health & social care companies include:

  • Subsidised on-site accommodation to remove the barrier of finding somewhere to live nearby
  • Flexible working options to accommodate those with families or childcare responsibilities
  • Apprenticeships to help encourage more people to work in the industry
  • Conducting team interviews to save time and resources

Smaller companies found that by assigning the recruitment of health & social care roles to one person made the process more efficient, as well as better promoting personal, societal and company benefits

“We have never stopped working and the industry is in crisis for staff."

2. What impact could the mandatory vaccine drive have?

The majority of companies we interviewed said the fact that staff are leaving the care sector is the single greatest challenge they will face in the next year.

The government has announced that frontline NHS staff in England must have both vaccine doses by 1 April 2022.

Several companies mentioned that they are struggling to attract enough candidates who have had the vaccine. They’ve also found it difficult to encourage staff to wear PPE and have regular Covid-19 tests.

Companies said this could impact on their ability to meet their legal obligations for on duty staff numbers – particularly when they are also losing staff at short notice to sickness and other unforeseen absence reasons.

3. How could the government intervene?

We found that companies are craving more investment by the government in the care sector.

While qualified nurses can be employed from abroad, care workers are still classed as unskilled workers and therefore do not qualify under immigration policies. Companies have requested that this should be changed and to make care a skilled profession to open up international recruitment options.

Other recommendations include requesting the UK government to increase pay rates as well as promote care opportunities through local and national advertising.

DBS checks were also raised as an issue – companies have requested that the government cover this cost to save them the time and resource it takes to process them for new employees.

“The fact that staff are leaving the care sector is the single greatest challenge they will face in the next year.”

Reed in Partnership can help you.

Nicola Whelan, Head of Delivery support at Reed in Partnership, said:

“We’ve helped numerous companies recruit in the healthcare sector recently, including crucial roles such as Care Assistants, Cleaners and Covid Marshals.”

Our Recruitment Managers work closely with the recruiting companies to ensure their needs are specifically met. If you would like help to fill your roles in the healthcare industry, please complete our contact form and one of our recruitment specialists will be in touch.

Get in touch.

To find out how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the hospitality and logistics industry click here