Almost half of care providers are experiencing difficulty recruiting suitable staff

Report highlights pressure in social care services recruiting, leading to severe staff shortages

The Care Inspectorate has released a report revealing that more than a third of providers (35%) across the sector reported vacancies in 2016.  This report is the first overview of staffing shortages in social care.

Officials have said that Brexit could pose further challenges, with many European workers currently in the sector.

Care Inspectorate chief executive, Karen Reid, said that more than 80% of care services in Scotland were judged to be good, very good or excellent in respect of the quality of care they provide – mainly due to the dedication, professionalism and commitment of the social care workforce.

But Ms Reid added: “Our evidence shows that people benefit from an effective and stable staff team which allows people experiencing care to build trusting relationships with the people supporting them.

“Recruitment and retention remain major challenges in some parts of social care. The reasons are complex and not easy to resolve.

“Our report shows where recruitment is most challenging and spells out some of the difficulties Scotland’s almost 2,600 social care employers describe.”

Due to people living longer and early learning and childcare being expanded, Scotland needed more people to work in social care. But the skills, experiences, and values of social care staff were just as critical as the number employed.

As the report covered the period on either side of the Brexit referendum, officials said it was not possible to say whether the vote would have an effect on care services. However, due to the significant number of European workers in the care sector they will be keeping a close eye on the situation.

The report revealed that problems filling vacancies were reported by care at home services (64%), care homes for older people (57%), care homes for adults (49%) and housing support services (48%).

Additionally, nurse agencies (61%) and residential special schools (61%) had a high proportion of services reporting problems filling vacancies, although these percentages were based on a small number of services.

Too few applicants with experience (58%), too few applicants in general (58%) and too few qualified applicants (50%) were the most common reported themes within most service types for why vacancies were hard to fill.

Aberdeen (57%), Perth and Kinross (52%) and Fife (51% of services) had the highest proportion of services reporting that vacancies were hard to fill.

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