A county council business launched to support the care industry is helping a private sector facing rising demand, staff shortages and increasing costs.
With the number of adults needing social care rising, a national report published today shows private providers are facing increasing difficulty recruiting enough staff to help everyone.
Staffordshire County Council is already working with the providers in the county to help them remain sustainable and uses its own company, Nexxus Care, to step in to help residents if no-one else is able.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “Today’s national report shows that the number of vacancies for care workers is rising, while demand for adult care is increasing.
“Companies are facing a double challenge of competing for staff when unemployment is at a very low level, as well as dealing with increased running costs.
“We are working with care providers locally to do all we can to support their recruitment and retention of staff to provide the necessary care to an ageing population across Staffordshire.”
The Skills for Care report says that nationally there are 1.79 million posts in adult social care, of which 165,000 are vacant. At the same time the number of filled posts dropped by 50,000 on the previous year.
The yearly Skills for Care workforce analysis coincides with publication of the annual report into the performance of Nexxus Care, founded by Staffordshire County Council to step in and provide adult social care when no-one else is available.
Currently employing 340 people, Nexxus’s achievements in recent years include taking on a home care contract in 2018 after the collapse of a national provider, and then stepping in again as several providers withdrew from the market.
As well as providing a lateral flow testing service across Staffordshire during the pandemic, in July 2021 Nexxus took on the running of two residential care homes at short notice; Meadowrythe in Tamworth and Bracken in Burntwood.
As part of its efforts to recruit and retain staff Nexxus is replacing paperwork with digital records and introducing new equipment, including mobile phones for all staff, to reduce the time carers spent on administration, as well as offering discount schemes for high street shopping and better pay and mileage rates.
Alan White added: “The provision of adult social care takes 40 per cent of this year’s county council budget and its long-term funding remains a matter of great concern.”