Healthcare could face a staffing crisis after it was revealed on in five healthcare professionals are more likely to leave following the pandemic.
Think tank the IPPR claims urgent action is needed, or the coronavirus crisis could impact on the healthcare system for years to come.
It calls for a raft of measures to be introduced, including providing proper protective equipment, bringing care workers’ pay in line with the NHS, and giving all healthcare workers a 10% bonus.
In a report, Care Fit for Carers, the think tank also calls for more security for housing, and help with childcare, alongside mental health support for those working on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis.
Report author and IPPR health research fellow, Chris Thomson said: ‘Care Fit for Carers is about giving the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic the protection, support and security they need. No one should have to put their health at risk because PPE is lacking. No one should face a mental health crisis because no support was there. And no one should face financial destitution while delivering our crisis response.’
Chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said: ‘If there is one thing that this dreadful pandemic has shown us it is that the social care workforce is our greatest resource. We must learn from this and train, resource and cherish the workforce accordingly.’
‘An important legacy of this crisis must be securing the status of social care as one on equal to the NHS. Never again must social care be the underdog. Social care must retain its rightful status which will therefore necessitate adequate resourcing, funding and status.’
The IPPR calls on the Government to provide frontline professionals with support to recognise their heroic contribution to the crisis.
It has called for five guarantees:
- Safety – including the supply of personal protective equipment
- Accommodation – no one should face housing insecurity while working on the coronavirus frontline
- Mental health – protecting workers’ mental health by extending access to therapy
- Pay – including guaranteed full pay if they fall ill, a 10% bonus, ensuring no care and health professional is paid less than the real living wage in the future, and giving care workers parity with NHS staff
- Care – an uplift in free childcare, with priority places to key workers.
The report also calls for a new bank holiday to celebrate health and care workers.
In addition, a survey, conducted by the think tank and pollsters YouGov, revealed healthcare workers are under severe strain. It found:
- Half of healthcare workers said their mental health had suffered due to the COVID-19 crisis
- 71% of 18-34-year-olds reported lower levels of mental health
- One in three reported their physical health had suffered
- Half of the healthcare workers said Government had not done enough to protect their families’ health
- A third of 35-44-year-olds said childcare was a problem
- A third of private sector health care workers said they had lost job security
- 89% of women and 83% of men said there were detrimental impacts on their life during the crisis