UK care sector declares ‘red’ alert amid Covid staffing shortage — Analysis

More than 90 UK care operators have declared a “red” alert due to staffing issues amid record high Covid infections

Over 11,000 home care workers have been made ineligible for work by the Omicron strain. Staff shortages are causing problems within the UK, leaving many struggling to find staff and delays to hospital discharges.

Data from the government shows that 9.4% of England’s home care staff have been temporarily absent. Only 3% are self-segregating because they use Covid. The numbers could have been higher as they were undercounted during the bank holiday weekend and festive season.

More than 90 caregivers have had to announce a change in their work. “red” alert, meaning that they don’t have the staff to meet patient demands. The shortage of PCR test kits has made this situation worse, causing workers to wait longer for results.

Barchester, one of the UK’s largest care home operators, running 250 establishments, has warned that it is facing Covid outbreaks in 105 of its homes. According to government regulations, homes suffering from active covid outbreaks can’t be discharged from hospital. This creates a backlog that hinders the NHS in clearing its beds.

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Staffing shortages have forced care agencies to offer up to £80 ($108.31) an hour for temporary staff – four times the normal cost – as well as resulting in homes poaching staff from other providers at the last minute.

“The spread of Omicron across the country will bring more care homes into outbreak, put huge pressure on the already compromised staff group and mean those who need care do not get it,”Vic Rayner is the Chief Executive of the National Care Forum.

Mike Padgham from Yorkshire called for the UK to create a care network in order to address this situation. “volunteer army”Retired nurses, doctors and caregivers who can fill in for short-term shifts.

Pete Calveley is the Chief Executive of Barchester. He says the virus has not caused serious illness or death in the majority of the residents. Most are only experiencing symptoms. “minor or cold-like symptoms.”

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