A national recruitment campaign has been launched by the government to try and entice more nurses and other healthcare professionals into the adult social care workforce.
The ‘Every Day Is Different’ campaign, driven by the Department of Health and Social Care, aims to plug the 110,000 vacancies in the sector by highlighting how rewarding a career in the sector can be.
“In reality, poorer pay than the NHS, low morale and precarious contracts led to them looking elsewhere”
The initiative will work to attract new people into the profession, promoting the range of job roles in the sector and address a high staff turnover rate.
More than 1.45 million people are currently working in the sector, but ministers have predicted an additional 650,000 workers will be needed by 2035 due to an ageing population.
Therefore, the campaign which has been developed in close collaboration with the sector, will use social media, digital and local radio advertising, outdoor poster and events across the country to attract more staff.
According to the national body, the initiative will highlight how rewarding social care careers can be, in which it noted that 96% of care professionals feel their work makes a difference to people’s lives. It will also showcase the opportunities for progression and professional development, it added.
In addition, the government has said it wants to use the campaign to encourage people with the “right values” and “increase interest” in adult social care as a vocation. It noted that there will be an initial focus on direct care roles such as care workers, where there is the most demand.
“We will never get the kind of care we all want for our relatives until social care, rather than budget cuts, top the list of Government priorities”
Dame Donna Kinnair
Meanwhile, the social care sector will be equipped with the marketing tools to support the campaign and will be given advice to recruit and retain the right people, to address a high turnover rate.
Advertising will run during February and March and will feature real care workers and the people they support. Its aim is to attract a diverse range of people, though the government states it will focus on people under 40, as research suggests they are most likely to consider a role in adult social care in the next 12 months.
In addition, adult social care providers will be encouraged to engage with the campaign by providing case studies, advertising their vacancies on DWP Find a Job and promoting social media content using the hashtag #shareifyoucare.
Materials will also be available to providers to equip them with information and assets to support the campaign locally, noted the government.
News of the campaign also comes as the Health Foundation publishes its own report on the NHS workforce, expressing concerns about the growing number of staff shortages across the board, as reported by Nursing Times earlier this week.
In response to the government’s initiative, acting chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dame Donna Kinnair, said it was pleasing to see works being carried out a to boost the sector.
However, she noted that making it a more of an “attractive” place to work requires hard cash investment, as well as good PR.
Dame Donna Kinnair
She said: “Registered nurses and care workers tell us they entered the sector with high hopes but in reality, poorer pay than the NHS, low morale and precarious contracts led to them looking elsewhere.
“Until these fundamentals are addressed, social care will continue to have a high turnover of nursing staff,” she warned.
Dame Donna stated: “A cut-price service lets down older people and those who work hard to care for them.”
“We will never get the kind of care we all want for our relatives until social care, rather than budget cuts, top the list of government priorities,” she added.
The RCN also called for legislation that guarantees the right number of nurses and support staff to provide safe and effective care throughout all settings, including social care.
Paul Morgan, managing director at Audley Group, a provider of retirement villages and flexible care, said the campaign “mustn’t act as a vacuum”, noting that retention of staff is just as important as finding more recruits.
Despite this, he highlighted that the sector has been waiting for the green paper on social care for over a year. He said: “It’s time the government stopped postponing publication and gave the sector more clarity.”
“The green paper must provide the basis for improving conditions for our 1.5m existing care workers as well as creating opportunities for the additional 600,000+ required over the coming decade,” he added.