Government outlines its £500m investment for the Health and Social Care Workforce

The Government will raise £5.4bn, through the Health and Social Care Levy (“The Levy”) which comes into effect on 6 April 2022. As part of The Levy, £500m has been outlined to be spent on assisting the adult social care workforce with increased investment. The aim of this investment is to both train and retain existing talent in the sector, in addition to attracting new people into the industry. This will help tackle the ongoing staff shortages which has been adversely affecting the adult social care workforce.

What will the investment be spent on? 

The £500m funding is part of the support outlined in the adult social care reform White Paper ‘People at the Heart of Care’. In the UK, a White Paper is a policy document produced by the Government which sets out their proposals for future legislation. In this instance, it outlines the workforce support measures which will benefit health and social care workers. The new workforce support measures include:

  • Steps to help care workers and registered manager’s progress their careers through use of a knowledge and skills framework, career pathways and investment to help with learning and development.
  • Helping to reduce the burden created when staff move roles to ensure they do not have to undertake the Care Certificate again. Funding to help standardised delivery will help to ensure that people can transfer between settings more easily.
  • Budgets for registered nurses, nursing associates, occupational therapists and other allied health professionals to assist with their continue professional development.
  • Supporting staff’s wellbeing and mental health and recognising that resilience and recovery following the pandemic can be assisted through improving access to occupational health.

These initiatives are set to make the health and social care industry a much more appealing sector to work in. The initiatives encourage career progression, training, and growth which makes it a more sustainable and attractive career choice for people. The Minster of State for Care and Mental Health Gillian Keegan states,

“As we recover from COVID, we must look to the future and to reform – this £500 million package of support will boost workforce recruitment, allow staff to progress in their careers in the sector and very importantly, ensure staff wellbeing is better supported.”

How has this been received?

However, whilst welcoming the funding, the Independent Care Group (“ICG”) has said that in order to attract more people into the sector more money was needed to enable providers to pay staff a fair wage. ICG Chair Mike Padgham said:

“What we really need to see is a huge proportion of the Health and Social Care Levy invested in helping local authorities to pay providers a true, honest and accurate price for the care they deliver. Then we might, as care providers, be in a position to pay staff what they deserve and create a sector in which people can make a real difference to other people’s lives but be paid a fair wage for doing so.”

Whilst career progression incentivises new recruits, it is highlighted that perhaps a higher wage would be more beneficial as an incentive instead.

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