Burnout Pandemic: report on social care staff shortages

thumbnail of 14.03.21 The burnout pandemic final96% social care workers say their employer is currently short staffed according to our report: Burnout Pandemic.

Over 2,500 social care members took part in the survey, 85% of whom were women. They work in care at home and residential social care services provided by councils, private and third sector organisations.

The main causes of staff shortages are illness caused by stress and burnout (76%) low pay (69%), poor conditions of work (31%) and lack of any career path (24%) in a very challenging and demanding role.

Not having a voice at work on issues like rotas and work organisation is a major cause of dissatisfaction and for staff leaving. 60% say they feel pressured or even forced to work extra or longer shifts.

Quotes from social care staff:

“…staff cut backs have put a major strain on us and made it difficult to deliver a decent quality of service to our service users. The stress that comes with this has had such a negative effect on staff, sometimes breaking down in the workplace.”

“We lost 11 members of staff in 5 weeks due to the way the home is run, ie we are not listened to when we report a decline in mobility or when we raise our concerns that we do not have enough staff in order to assist our residents the way they deserve”

In 2019 the Fair Work Convention report Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector recommended the creation of a new sector body to give social care workers an effective voice in the design, development and delivery of social care services.

It said:

  • This body is required to provide greater coherence of approach in a sector characterised by multiple employers and low levels of unionisation.
  • It should contain as members key actors in the sector including employers, unions, policy makers and other relevant sector representatives.
  • This body should provide leadership on Fair Work; scrutinise work and employment practices in the sector, provide a resource and information hub for the sector and its workforce, influence policy, and may over time become a forum for sectoral bargaining.
  • An initial short-term SG-led sector level group should undertake the preliminary scoping work to co-create a body with a longer term role, function and governance.

The creation of this sector forum is now part of the consultation on a future National Care Service.