Survey find staffing levels in care ‘dangerously low’

A new survey from UNISON has found that nearly a third of care staff believe that staffing levels are getting worse and negatively affecting the care provided.

The findings are based on responses from more than 1,600 care employees and reveal some dying residents are being denied a dignified end to their lives. UNISON says that this is because there are not enough staff to sit with them in their final hours.

Other shocking consequences of the staffing crisis highlighted by the survey include people being left in dirty sheets, denied regular baths or showers, and not helped to dress until the afternoon.

An overwhelming majority of workers, as many as 97 per cent, say their care employer is currently experiencing staffing shortages with burnout, overwork, and low pay (or better pay elsewhere) among the main reasons cited.

Other findings from the survey include 67 per cent of staff saying they are thinking of leaving social care. The union says this is a disastrous but inevitable consequence of poverty wages, low morale and years of chronic underfunding.

Christina McAnea, UNISON general secretary, said: “Social care is experiencing an unprecedented staffing crisis. Care workers are leaving in their droves – burnt out from the pandemic, exhausted from covering under-staffed shifts and fed up with low wages.

“This is nothing short of a nightmare for families worried about the care of their loved ones, overworked employees struggling to cope and employers concerned they won’t have the staff to stay open. The care sector is desperately short of workers and can’t wait months for the government to come up with a solution.

“Ministers should give all care employees some early festive cheer and announce an across-the-board pay rise. This would persuade many on the verge of quitting to stay and encourage more people to think seriously about working in social care.”

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