Care home sustainability indicators revealed in Scottish Care research

Today (27 Dec 2018), Scottish Care has published its most recent data on the independent sector care home workforce in Scotland.

The membership organisation for independent sector social care services – which represents almost 1000 care home, care at home, housing support and day care services for older people – surveyed its care home members on issues such as recruitment and retention of staff, payment of the Scottish Living Wage (SLW) and the sustainability of services.

The resulting Care Home Workforce Data Report 2018 is based on survey data from private, voluntary and charitable care homes supporting nearly 5,000 residents and employing a similar number of staff.

The findings include:

  • 47% of care home services believe paying SLW has made them less sustainable, up from 42% last year, because it has not been properly funded
  • The average turnover of staff in care homes is 24%, up from 22% in 2017
  • 41% of care homes have found recruitment of staff more difficult in 2018
  • 77% of care homes have staff vacancies, including 61% with carer vacancies
  • Up to 44% of care homes rely on the EU as a recruitment pool for different categories of care staff

Scottish Care CEO, Dr Donald Macaskill said:

“This significant report is the latest piece of research produced by Scottish Care which highlights the critical stage the care home sector finds itself in Scotland. Whilst there is much to be positive about in the description of dedicated care and support, the research also depicts a sector facing serious workforce challenges. 

 “We are struggling to recruit new staff and hold on to existing staff. The uncertainties that exist around Brexit are not helping this situation, given that the EU is a crucial recruitment avenue for many care homes and we rely on staff from European countries to form part of this critical workforce.

 “We have to urgently reframe how care homes are perceived and valued.  They are hugely rewarding and fulfilling places to work, with real learning and progression opportunities available.  The work is up there with the highest levels of skill and complexity required in any workplace.  Yet we continue to see them portrayed as unskilled, unfulfilling places to work and as second-class careers compared not only to other sectors but to the NHS also.

We are calling upon all our partners and indeed all citizens to work with us to improve understanding of care homes and to better recognise and value this workforce’s contribution, including through better financial rewards.  If we don’t, we risk losing an essential component of our health and social care system.  Without a workforce, there cannot be the high quality care homes that communities and individuals require and deserve.”

Read the full report here.