By Christian Barnett – Local Democracy Reporter
More needs to be done to attract carers and nursing staff to Worcestershire, the county council’s adult care chief has said.
Avril Wilson said recruitment is facing the “double whammy” of struggling to make social care an attractive job and uncertainty over the right for EU workers to remain in the country post-Brexit.
At a meeting of the council’s adult care and wellbeing overview and scrutiny meeting yesterday (November 6), Ms Wilson, the council’s interim director of adult services, said it was “increasingly difficult” for the council to recruit “good quality, high calibre” staff.
She said: “We don’t do enough to attract people into social care. That is not just a Worcestershire problem, that is a national problem. It is a difficult job. A very rewarding job but one that is very challenging.
“People could be working in a supermarket, have a staff discount and earn ten pounds an hour or care for somebody, which can be in a very challenging environment, and be earning around £9.50 an hour.
“Social care assistants are improving the quality of life for thousands of people throughout Worcestershire.
“If we all keep saying that then perhaps the message starts to get home that a career in care is valued.”
Staffing at County Hall was one area branded ‘in the red’ on a performance scorecard.
At an average of 14.4 days per person, the rate of staff absence within adult services is more than double the council’s target of one week.
A council spokesman said: “We have higher levels of staff sickness in adult social care compared to other areas of the council but this is the same up and down the country with other local authorities, so we are no different.
The council said it is tackling the issue by focusing human resources officers to provide further support and guidance to managers regarding absence.
The council has also introduced monthly absence reviews in adult care alongside new absence policies for all managers to follow.