Care providers have pleaded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change the law to boost staff numbers in the sector during the COVID-19 outbreak.
They want people furloughed in other industries and receiving 80% of their wages to be allowed to take up paid employment with social care providers.
The call comes amid an urgent need for more staff to cover the increased demand on care services and escalating staff shortages caused by sickness and self-isolation.
Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, a membership organisation that represents more than 3,700 social care providers throughout England, said: ‘The next few weeks will be absolutely critical and if we are to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society then we need to ensure that we have enough staff to be able to deliver the care and support that is so vitally needed.
‘What we need is for government to urgently change legislation so that people who have been furloughed from other sectors can move seamlessly into social care roles to help us in meeting the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We now need more support and urgent action from government to allow us to recruit more staff to help us during a time when there is a huge increase in demand on our staffing.’