Consider asking retired care workers to work, says LGA

Asking retired care workers to return to work could help support those most at risk of the coronavirus outbreak and provide a much-needed boost to an already over-stretched social care workforce.

Council leaders have suggested that these workers are needed more now that ever. But, while the government has introduced measures for doctors and nurses to come back to the NHS and social workers to social care, it has yet to do so for care workers. The Local Government Association says the government should extend its thinking to care workers to help boost the social care effort.

The move would also enable councils to better support the 1.5 million vulnerable people identified by the government as most at risk from coronavirus and needing to stay at home for 12 weeks, by supporting people discharged from hospital to free up beds for those being treated for coronavirus.

It is believed that those recently retired would also be experienced care workers, and would not need much in terms of refresher training to be able to return to work.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Across the country, councils, as a fourth emergency service, are stepping up to support the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus outbreak. Making sure older and vulnerable people get the care and protection they need to stay safe and well is priority number one for councils.

“The recently announced funding for councils to support the most vulnerable will help councils do everything they can to ensure people are able to access vital care and support. The coronavirus outbreak will severely test and stretch our social care workforce, who already do a tremendous job in the face of extreme pressures. But supporting retired care workers to return to work could be a significant booster measure for the sector, to get through the highly challenging weeks and months ahead.”