MP demands action on care staffing crisis after Kendal home announces temporary closure

October 7, 2021 4:01 PM
Originally published by Tim Farron

Local MP Tim Farron has written to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, urging him to fix the staffing crisis in social care after it was announced that Maudes Meadow care home in Kendal will be closed for the next six months.

Maudes Meadow, which is home to 11 residents, has been forced into closing until next March due to a severe shortage of staff.

It comes after another care home in Cumbria, Barrock Court in Low Hesket, was forced to close after it was unable to recruit sufficient staff.

The Government recently announced new reforms to social care but the Care Workers' Charity say that these changes will "do nothing in the short term to help address chronically low pay and burnout which have forced staff to leave."

A recent report from the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee found that around 430,000 people left jobs in adult social care during 2019-2020 - citing reasons such as low pay, burnout, and poorer working benefits.

In his letter to the Secretary of State, Tim said: "On an almost daily basis now, my office is contacted by care home managers in dire straits because they cannot recruit the staff to continue to run their homes in a safe way.

"This is an issue which has been brewing for some time but has no doubt been exacerbated by the unbelievable stress of the pandemic, stricter visa rules and the Government's 'no jab, no job' policy.

"This staffing crisis is now starting to have serious consequences in Cumbria with Barrock Court care home in Low Hesket forced to close and Maudes Meadow care home in Kendal temporarily closed with residents having to leave their homes, something which must be incredibly stressful and difficult to deal with.

"Carers perform such a vital role in our society and yet they receive some of the lowest pay for what is an incredibly valuable job - caring for our loved ones. If we are to stop this mass exodus of workers leaving the sector then we simply must start to value carers and pay them a proper wage.

"When the Government announced its long awaited social care reforms, I was astonished that it contained no plans to improve pay and conditions for care staff. Even if this does eventually get addressed, the reforms are still another three years away and the impact on the sector if no action is taken then will be catastrophic. The crisis is now and is very real and this is reflected in the weekly letters am I receiving from families who are unable to access suitable social care.

"Therefore, I urge you to immediately bring forward funding for the sector so we can give care staff the wage that they deserve and we stop this tsunami of people leaving the sector which threatens to leave our loved ones high and dry."