Are care services for vulnerable adults at risk post Brexit? New research by Independent Age, the older people’s charity, and the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) states that care services for elderly and disabled people could be at risk because nearly 80,000 workers in the sector in England don’t have British citizenship and could lose their right to work in the UK following the vote for Brexit.
Are care services for vulnerable adults at risk post Brexit?
It says the risk is made worse because of failures to recruit enough British-born workers to meet the increasing demands of an ageing population.
The report also notes that
- Workers from the EEA now make up the great majority of migrants coming to England to work in adult social care each year.
- Over 80% of migrants coming to England to work in social care so far in 2016 come from the EEA.
- Of the almost 84,000 EEA migrants in the social care workforce, around 78,000 do not have British citizenship.
- In the past ten years, staff turnover rates in social care have increased from 18% to 24.3%, and vacancy rates have increased from 3.5% to 5.1%.
- As the population ages and more people need care, restrictions on EEA workers could add a further 70,000 people to the shortfall of over a million care workers already predicted in the next twenty years.
- Altogether, increased demand and recruitment difficulties could lead to a near doubling of the ‘care ratio’ of care workers to older people, from one worker per 7 older people today, to one worker per 13.5 older people in 2037.
Recruitment and retention of staff in in the adult social care sector in England is a severe challenge, with both turnover rates and vacancy rates having risen significantly in the past ten years.
Post-referendum the status of EU migrants working in the UK remains unclear and the Prime Minister has yet to guarantee the rights of EU workers.
Sean McCann the Managing Director of People Based Solutions has said:
“An ageing population will require the recruitment of more care workers. At the moment the shortfall is being met by migrant workers, especially from the European Union. There is a pressing need to recruit more British born workers to social care. To achieve this will require an improvement in pay, training and job security. This will be extremely difficult given the current level off fees for adult social care. The care sector will also need to lobby ensure that these essential workers are allowed to remain in the UK post Brexit.”