Research published recently demonstrates some of the big workforce challenges faced by the social care sector, says Priory Chief Executive, Rebekah Cresswell, but also highlights opportunities to improve career opportunities for carers.
In response to the report, Rebekah Cresswell, Chief Executive at Priory, said:
“At Priory, we know the importance of high morale in our social care workforce. It enables millions of people to lead fulfilling and independent lives, and plays a crucial role in supporting the wider health and care system, which has seen significant pressures in recent years, owing mainly to increased demand and external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s good to see a small increase in the number of social care workers over the past year, it would be wrong to ignore the lingering challenges the sector faces when it comes to recruitment and retention. As the report outlines, social care still has more vacancies when compared to other sectors, and it’s extremely disappointing to read that people think there is little to no career progression as a carer. This needs to change.
I’m incredibly proud of Priory’s care and support workers who make up over 60% of Priory’s workforce. Their hard work, expertise and wholehearted dedication continues to impress me every day, and they deserve the very best opportunities in return. In addition to paying Priory adult social care staff the equivalent of the Real Living Wage as a minimum, we are dedicated to our vision of ‘Care as a Career.’ This is about having formalised structures and pathways in place to not only support colleagues, but to help them thrive, through extensive training and development opportunities.
For example, we have a number of colleagues who started their career with us as a support worker and are now registered or deputy managers, following successful completion of formal apprenticeships. This will continue to be a focus over the coming year, with one of Priory’s key strategic aims for 2024 being to develop our colleagues into specialists, using succession planning to upskill staff through formal qualifications and skills based courses.
I’m pleased that we have increased our headcount of care and support workers by 17.5% since 2022, and that we have reduced our turnover of the same roles by more than 16%, which is testament to our ability to retain talented colleagues. However, as a sector we have a long way to go and this is a key area where we can work collaboratively. As employers and providers, we should remember that every person who works in the sector, at whatever level, is an individual with their own aspirations and goals. We have a duty to listen to our colleagues and cultivate a desirable work environment in response. After all, truly life changing work depends on it.”
About Priory and MEDIAN
Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health services. We treat more than 70 conditions including depression, anxiety, addictions, and eating disorders, as well as children’s mental health, across our nationwide network of sites. We also support autistic adults and adults with a learning disability, Prader-Willi Syndrome and brain injuries, as well as older people, within our specialist residential care and supported living facilities– helping as many people as possible to live their lives.
Priory is part of the MEDIAN Group, one of Europe’s leading providers of high-quality mental health and rehabilitation services. The MEDIAN Group comprises: 290 facilities with 5,000 beds caring for 28,000 people in the United Kingdom, 120 facilities with 20,000 beds caring for around 250,000 patients in Germany, and 15 facilities with 2,000 beds caring for 13,000 people in Spain, with more than 29,000 employees overall.