William Eichler 09 February 2017

Crisis-hit social care system faces ‘total collapse’ post Brexit

Britain’s crisis-hit social care system could face ‘total collapse’ without adequate post-Brexit plan, says union.

A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has revealed an estimated 55,000 care workers are EU nationals, many of whom face an uncertain future in the UK due to questions over freedom of movement.

In addition to the possible loss of these care workers, IPPR’s report found the UK needs to recruit 1.6 million low-skills health and social care workers - two-thirds of the current workforce up to 2022.

Responding to IPPR’s findings, the public sector union GMB has urged Theresa May to pledge the necessary funding to train and recruit new care workers post Brexit.

‘Our social care system is already teetering on the brink of collapse - and post Brexit there is the potential for it to topple over altogether,’ said Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary for public services.

‘We desperately need well-trained, highly motivated care workers to help take care of our ageing population.

‘If we lose tens of thousands of existing workers after leaving the EU the situation will become critical.’

‘Instead of holding hands with Donald Trump and refusing to publish details of her proposed Brexit plan, Theresa May must make a cast iron pledge to give our social care sector the financial backing it urgently needs - whatever happens after leaving the European union,’ Ms Azam added.

‘Persistent underfunding in the adult social care sector has led to a reliance on a low-paid, often poorly trained workforce, with care workers some of the lowest paid workers in the country,’ said Clare McNeil, IPPR associate director for families and work.

‘The sector will have a huge challenge on its hands to recruit enough workers to keep pace with demand, particularly with expected lower levels of migration.

‘We are calling for a radical change in workforce strategy - both to improve working conditions to attract more workers and to raise standards in the sector.’

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