There is no doubt that providers of care services will be very concerned about the recruitment of care workers prior to Brexit and when we finally agree our exit of the European Union. Adam Pike, a former policy adviser at the Cabinet Office and the Treasury argues that if a points system is introduced to control migration, care workers must be given priority. His view is that we should not only be concerned about tariffs for our trade but we need to recognise that the workforce and workers’ rights are more important.
Pike emphasises the importance of four things if a points system to control immigration is introduced.
One: We need to prioritise the migration of care workers and nurses.
Two: We should be encouraging foreign students who want to train in nursing and social care.
Three: We need to train a massive number of new carers and attract workers from other industries who have the skills applicable to care, but are not attracted to the industry. If we promote social carers as a worthwhile profession with terms and conditions and better pay, we will attract more people to the industry.
Four: We need to cut the spending on critical conditions and spend more money on prevention rather than waiting for people to be suffering from critical conditions before local authorities offer care services. We should be spending on prevention now and if we are to accrue the benefits 25 years down the road.
If we do not take any action there is likely to be a shortage of 600,000 carers by the year 2025.
It may well be that a points system is not introduced. Never the less we still need to recognise the importance of foreign workers to the industry. Given the current difficulties in recruiting workers to the social care sector, and especially if the economy continues to provide full employment. Who would argue that it will continue to be difficult to recruit workers from other industries, unless the Government gives providers more realistic funding that will enable the provision of training for new care workers, better pay and the promotion of the carers profession.
Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy