Tackling Care home and nursing shortages

Tackling Care Home & Nursing Shortages-01

According to healthcare regulator; CQC (Care Quality Commission), 62% of care homes within the NHS are falling short of a ‘good’ rating. One possible cause of this is staffing shortages within care homes across the country and not enough staff on duty. Many care homes were not offering regular one-to-one supervision or annual appraisals as well as 54% of the staff saying they are not provided with the correct training opportunities.

From the 1st October 2014 to the 31st August 2015, over 300 inspections took place gaining a better understanding of the training gaps that were believed to be evident. From these inspections, 125 services were ‘inadequate’ 125 ‘require improvement’ and 50 were rated ‘good.’ Showing:

  • 71% of care homes were identified as having training gaps.
  • 49% were breaching regulations that required them to ensure a suitably trained and supported workforce.

Social care within England

The current social care system in England is complex, financially unsustainable and varied in what people are entitled to, depending on where they live. Funding for care services is based upon a national criteria for assessing individual needs that are applied locally from the council.

Hertfordshire county council is tackling the problem head-on. Recognising that its local providers need to recruit 2,000 extra care workers a year – 1,000 to replace those leaving their jobs, and another 1,000 to meet the demands of an ageing population which is expected to reach 1.5 million people aged 65+ by 2025.

“The number of older people needing care is increasing and yet we are continuing to put less money in.” – Ruth Thorlby, deputy director of policy at the Nuffield Trust.

Additional responsibilities

A huge part of the care home shortage is a knock-on-effect from the nursing shortage within Trusts. Hospital trusts are paying over £2,000 for agency staff per shift, in order to make up for the shortfall and lower concerns regarding quality of care. Long-term personalised care and support for adults and the elderly has highlighted the risks of financial pressures, the standard of training and the ratio of staff to patients.

Potential solution

Care home staff in Lancashire have been introduced to a new training course, this 15 month assistant practitioner programme will help to maintain excellent standards in care. Allowing qualified staff to develop clinical and management skills which adhere to many aspects of a registered nursing course.

‘The national shortage of nurses within this sector is likely to last for many years. Therefore the assistant practitioner role is an excellent response to the problem, which will help to meet the challenges we face in health and social care.’- Theresa Swan, learning and development manager at Springhill.


Care homes under pressure- An England Report Policy Briefing 04/2010