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Professor Martin Green OBE discusses recruitment and retention in the care sector

How can we make working in the care sector appeal to more staff, asks Professor Martin Green OBE, an Expert Advisory Council member for P&G Professional and the Chief Executive of Care England.

The care sector is in the midst of a workforce crisis. Recent data from Skills for Care showed that there were over 160,000 vacancies across the care sector, and this figure is set to rise. Predictions show that we will need 480,000 extra staff by 2035. 

There is also a challenge around retention within the sector, and post-Covid, we have seen that many people are exhausted and burnt out from their experiences during the pandemic and have now decided to leave the sector altogether. 

An economy with nearly full employment, low levels of funding in the care sector and the complex and difficult nature of the work have all combined to put pressure on our recruitment and retention strategies. There is also a major problem in that because we are so poorly funded, we cannot invest in training and development, or indeed in increasing pay and conditions. 

The cost-of-living increases have also put enormous pressures on families, and people are having to think strategically about whether or not they can afford to stay in the care sector, and many people who would like to maintain a career in care have been forced into other professions to make ends meet.

Another issue is that whilst the pandemic may have moved into a different phase in the general population, people who are supported by care services are still vulnerable to Covid-19. When outbreaks occur, this has an impact on staff as well as residents. 

If staff become sick, sometimes they cannot access sick pay, reducing their income. Faced with the multitude of challenges, many smaller care providers are struggling to stay afloat, and in recent research by Care England and Hft, a third of smaller providers had said they were considering exiting the market. 

This workforce crisis is not only confined to care staff, but it is also having a huge impact on our dedicated and skilled cleaning, catering, and support staff. The Covid-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the essential role of the cleaning team, and without them, it would be impossible to keep care homes hygienically clean and free from viruses. 

Care providers are doing all they can to support their cleaning teams, and they are fortunate in that there is a range of really effective cleaning products that are not only proven to deliver the highest quality of infection control but are also easy to use. P&G Professional provides superior cleaning and sanitising solutions to the care sector. By providing innovative products and systems that are simple to use, P&G Professional can help streamline cleaning practices to get the job done right the first time, saving time and money and giving staff more time to care for residents while easing business resourcing pressures.

P&G Professional is committed to helping care homes capture the value of clean in a post-Covid world and help them to continue operating safely and successfully. Flash Professional Disinfecting Multi-

Surface Cleaner, is proven to kill flu viruses and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, when used according to label directions.

P&G Professional products are also formulated to provide an outstanding clean even with one wash, short cycles and low water temperatures, without compromising on the results, helping care homes on their journey to becoming more sustainable. 

There is undoubtedly a workforce crisis in social care. However, there are certain things which care providers can do that enable jobs to be as easy as possible while still giving the confidence that the care service, where people both live and work, is as safe as possible. 

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