The care sector faces some enormous challenges over the coming months. Carehome UK reports that several care homes in England and Scotland are considering closing, because of chronic staff shortages, or because the upcoming hike in energy bills this winter.

A recent survey of care providers found that 83% are finding it more difficult to replace staff than ever before, as they quit for better paid roles with better conditions in retail or the NHS. 

Rebecca Pritchard, chief executive of Surrey Care Association, said: “Our members talk about the distress they feel when they can’t deliver the care people need.”

She added: “Many have seen staff leave for similar roles but better terms and conditions in the local authority or NHS or in local retail jobs. We talk about integrated care systems, but integration won’t work when there isn’t equal pay for equal work.”

Meanwhile in Scotland, there are fears that some of the 797 care homes in the country will be forced to close, because of the unaffordable rise in energy bills this winter. 

The Chief Executive of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill, told the publication: “I am now more worried about the survival of social care delivery in Scotland than at any time before or during the Covid pandemic."

He added: “I have had people in tears this last week wondering how they are going to survive and how they will tell families, residents and staff that they cannot continue. This will, first and foremost, be devastating for the residents of these care homes because we know that the trauma caused by care home closure has a life-shortening effect.”

There are fears that frail and elderly people may end up being moved into hospital, or into care homes which are many miles away from their family or friends. 

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