Care home sector warns of continued challenges to nursing homes in face of Brexit uncertainty

Scottish Care has published a new report on the picture of nursing in the independent social care sector.

The report, entitled Independent Sector Nursing Data 2018, depicts both the highlights and challenges of nursing in care homes in Scotland and illustrates the nurse recruitment and retention crisis currently being faced.  It is the third of such annual reports launched by Scottish Care to provide an up to date picture of nursing in social care.

Speaking ahead of the report’s launch, Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care, said:

“The findings in this latest report indicate that the independent sector continues to be in a period of real criticality in relation to nursing care. Even compared to 2017 figures, the challenges of recruiting and retaining nurses to work in social care settings appear to have worsened in 2018 and to be affecting all organisations, regardless of size or location.”

Independent Sector Nursing Data 2018 is based on survey data from 121 care organisations.  It provides some headline facts and figures about the sector in relation to the recruitment and retention of nurses:

  • 64% of nurses in care homes are over the age of 45
  • Nearly a fifth of all care home nursing posts are vacant
  • Approximately 12% of care home nurses originating from the EU, with Brexit causing huge uncertainty
  • Nursing posts taking between 6 and 8 months to fill, but sometimes up to 2 years
  • 38% annual turnover of nurses in responding care homes, with smaller services sometimes experiencing turnover of all their nurses within a year
  • Agency costs varied between £300 and £1200 for an overnight shift

 The biggest problem identified in the report is an inequity in pay, conditions and esteem compared to nurses in the NHS.

Dr Macaskill concluded:

“The nursing care home sector in Scotland cannot continue to rely on dedicated staff giving above what is reasonable, managers on a constant conveyor belt of recruitment, and the inequity of nurse terms and conditions in commissioned social care in care homes compared to those available in the NHS.

“We urgently need to identify an increased resource in early 2019 to support this highly vulnerable workforce. Faced with this existing recruitment crisis together with Brexit’s uncertainties we will see even more care homes close and more of our vulnerable older citizens stuck in hospitals unnecessarily as a result.”

To read the report, click here.