Responding to the report, Ben Gershlick, Senior Economist at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Today’s report recognises the need to improve working conditions in adult social care but concludes that increased pressure on the fragile sector will be unavoidable under a more restrictive migration system. Around 17% of staff in England are non-British nationals, but few earn more than the proposed £25,600 threshold. With around 122,000 vacancies and high turnover rates, it's clear that the sector can ill afford further limitations on recruitment from abroad.
‘While social care remains underfunded and undervalued, attracting and retaining sufficient staff from either the UK or abroad is near impossible. On current plans, funding for social care will not keep up with demand over this parliament which means there is likely to be little progress on either pay or conditions for staff. The government should also consider the impact an increase in the use of temporary visas will have on incentive for providers and workers to invest in skills in the sector.
‘The report rightly highlights that the immigration system alone can’t solve these issues, but without a sector-specific immigration route for adult social care, they will worsen. As well as additional funding, the adult social care system desperately needs reform to address the underlying causes of staff shortages, both to improve the quality of care now, and to not act as a brake on the government’s ambitions going forwards.’
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