New £7m fund announced to help Cumbria's social care sector

A new multi-million pound fund has been set up to support social care in Cumbria this winter.

This sector has a large number of vacancies - estimated at 700 across the county - but is struggling to fill these roles and also has trouble retaining staff. Demand for care though is rising.

Cumbria County Council has made this new financial commitment of £7m to try and address the situation.

Reasons put forward for for this include the new compulsory vaccination requirement for staff - dubbed "no jab no job" - as well as higher wages in other sectors and the pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shortage of staff has led to care home closures and a rising waiting list for people requiring care packages in their home.

Social care providers will be able to apply for a grant to support staff recruitment and retention from this new fund. This grant will allow them to enhance pay and rewards for staff.

The aim is to encourage new people to choose a job in social care and help ensure existing staff are not lost to other employers. Staff working for the council’s in-house social care provider Cumbria Care will also receive an additional market supplement payment.

Stewart Young,the county council's leader, said:

Cllr Young added:

Patricia Bell, the cabinet member for adult social care at the authority, welcomed the new fund but also pointed out that it was "only a temporary measure, not a sustainable long-term solution for social care".

She added:

The Department for Health and Social Care responder to these comments.

A spokesperson said: “We are committed to delivering world-leading social care across the country and investing an additional £5.4bn over three years, which will allow us to begin a comprehensive programme of reform for adult social care – including £500 million to support the development and wellbeing of the care workforce.

“We are working to ensure we have the right number of staff with the right skills in the short term too - this includes running regular national recruitment campaigns and providing £162.5 million to help councils recruit and retain care workers.”

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