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The King's Fund responds to the 2022 Skills for Care report

Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund responds to the 2022 Skills for Care report on the adult social care workforce

‘These figures are evidence of the absolute crisis social care faces when trying to recruit staff, a crisis that has profound consequences for people needing care. 

‘Last year saw – for the first time – an actual fall in the number of people working in the social care sector. Despite increasing demand for services, around 50,000 fewer people worked in social care last year and there were 165,000 care worker vacancies, the equivalent to 1 in every 9 posts being unfilled, and the highest number since records began.

‘A key reason for that is pay, which continues to lag behind other sectors including retail and hospitality, as well as similar roles in the NHS. Our recent analysis found that nearly 400,000 care workers would be better paid working in most supermarkets.*

‘A sustained lack of funding has left us with an adult social care system that is failing the people who rely on it, as well as the people who work in it. The social care sector relies on the dedication of skilled, caring individuals working hard in increasingly challenging conditions. As staff shortages continue to heap unstainable pressure on an already stretched workforce, we risk spiralling into a vicious circle that makes it ever harder to fill these vacancies.

‘While the new government’s announcement of additional funding to support discharging people from hospital into social care is welcome, social care is much more than a release valve for NHS pressures. A short-term, short-notice pot of cash is not going to help social care tackle long-term problems like unmet need, quality of care, or staff recruitment and retention. A major part of the solution is a better paid and trained workforce with real career progression. That in turn requires the sustainable funding, long-term workforce plan and other reforms that social care has long been promised but have yet to materialise.’

Notes to editors

*Recent analysis by The King’s Fund found that in June 2022 9 out of the 10 largest supermarkets were paying a higher hourly rate than the average social care worker receives. 

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England

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