Care homes are closing due to an exodus of staff – leaving NHS hospitals to pick up the pieces, a major report has warned.

Today’s annual report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) paints a bleak picture of a healthcare system on the brink of collapse heading into ‘the most challenging of winters’.

The watchdog warned of ‘unacceptably’ long waits in ambulances and at A&E units, adding that many NHS services were already ‘at or beyond capacity’.

It was discovered that social care staff are leaving to find better-paid jobs in retail, supermarkets, or hospitality.

One in ten vital jobs in care homes is now vacant, almost double the level six months ago.

According to CQC, the exodus is likely accelerate as travel and tourism increase recruitment.

Today¿s annual report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) paints a bleak picture of a healthcare system on the brink of collapse heading into ¿the most challenging of winters¿. [File image]

Today’s annual report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) paints a bleak picture of a healthcare system on the brink of collapse heading into ‘the most challenging of winters’. [File image]

Some nursing homes are having to shut because their ‘attempts at recruitment have failed’, making it ‘untenable to continue providing care’.

There are fears that more homes will be closed as a rule that requires care staff to be double-jabbed for Covid is in effect. This rule could potentially make more than 40,000.

CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said the ‘serious and deteriorating’ care staffing crisis will have knock-on effects for hospitals and GPs.

Covid’s carers were so desperate that they did shifts 

Chris Brooke, The Daily Mail 

One home was so short of staff that two Covid caregivers worked the night shift on weekends.

Staff treated 11 residents with coronavirus and were symptomatic.

The 15-bed care home has a short staffing and most of the staff left during the crisis incident feeling sick of self-isolating.

The staff were asymptomatic and looked after 11 residents who also had coronavirus, which swept through the Caledonia home in Holyhead, Anglesey (pictured above)

Staff treated 11 residents with coronavirus and provided care for them.

Ann Bedford, the owner, stated that social services and her local health authority were not able to help her and that she was left without night staff because there was no agency care staff.

She said the home, which specialises in dementia care, only got through the weekend because the two ‘fantastic’ staff members who had tested positive agreed to work.

Mrs Bedford, 75 years old, claimed that her two homes have not suffered from Covid deaths and that they were only affected by the virus recently after all residents and staff had been fully-jabbed.

‘We are still struggling but we are hanging on,’ she said. ‘When this happened we were short of staff anyway and couldn’t find anyone to help us.

‘I have lung cancer and of course for me it was frightening but even I came in. 

“Obviously, I was very careful, but I was double-jabbed. I got through it but it was desperate. 

“I was promised help, but never received it. We felt abandoned and alone.’


Patients who could be cared for in the community are ending up stuck in hospital, which charities said is ‘deeply ominous for the NHS’ as Covid cases surge.

CQC inspectors raised concerns about ‘unacceptable’ waits in A&E, noting that half of emergency departments were already having to hold patients outside in ambulances every day.

Last night doctors at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales claimed it is so short-staffed that it’s ‘teetering on a knife-edge’ and just ‘two resignations from collapse’.

Meanwhile, the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust declared a critical incident last night and said it is experiencing ‘unprecedented demand… more so this week than at any point during the pandemic’.

The CQC report, which was based on inspections at more than 32,000 services providers and providers, examined all aspects healthcare.

Mr Trenholm said: ‘If nothing changes social care will continue to lose staff to other sectors, outside of health and social care. 

‘The impact of that will ripple right across the wider system, and those ripples will build and become a tsunami of unmet need across all sectors.’

The report called for ‘sharp focus on developing a clearly defined career pathway for social care staff’, including better training and higher pay.

Responding to the findings, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: ‘Social care staff, including nurses, are leaving in their droves which presents a real risk to the continuation of services.’

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the report had highlighted the ‘gradual disintegration’ of the social care system, with providers forced to ‘mothball’ care.

She said: ‘Older people are getting stuck in hospital again when they are medically fit to be discharged, simply because there is not enough care to support them when they get home.

‘This is deeply ominous for the NHS, with the worst of winter yet to come, as well as miserable and counterproductive for any older person concerned.’

Gavin Terry, head of policy at Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘The rising numbers of people seeking emergency care tallies with what we know from our own research –people with dementia are being rushed to hospital with problems like infections, falls and dehydration that quality social care support could have prevented.’

Rachel Harrison, from the GMB Union, called for a minimum pay of £15 an hour for care workers, adding: ‘The care sector is past a crisis – it’s on the verge of collapse.

‘We face 170,000 vacancies by the end of the year and that’s before November’s cliff-edge vaccine deadline forces more career carers out of the door.’

The Department of Health last night announced a new £162.5million workforce retention and recruitment fund to bolster the care workforce. 

The ring-fenced funding, which is available until March 31, will be used to support local authorities in collaborating with providers to recruit staff.

It will also help to retain existing employees through overtime payments.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘I want to thank care workers for their commitment and tireless efforts throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – we owe them a debt of gratitude which I am determined to repay through ambitious, sustainable social care reform that prioritises their skills and wellbeing. 

“Our strained workforce could collapse”: The stark warning of one care home manager

A care manager has warned her ‘strained workforce will crumble’ if hit by winter bugs.

Clare Shann, 47, said: ‘We have never found it as tough as we are now to recruit the right people. 

‘All of the efforts to preserve the NHS will fall short if there are a shortage of care homes for people to be discharged to.’ 

Miss Shann, whose family owned company St Vincent manages four care homes in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, and Essex, last week wrote to Health Secretary Sajid javid to highlight the impact of the mandatory vaccination rule on staffing.

Care home manager Clare Shann warned her ¿strained workforce will crumble¿ if hit by winter bugs

Care home manager Clare Shann warned her ‘strained workforce will crumble’ if hit by winter bugs

She said: ‘Whilst I am pro-vaccine, I do not believe that people should have their personal choices taken away. 

“If it is to become mandatory for staff in care homes, then it should also be mandatory in homes for those who care for the elderly and NHS staff.

‘I am now being put into a position where I am going to have to take honest, hardworking, reliable staff through a disciplinary process and eventually have no option other than to dismiss them.’

She added: ‘If, as people are predicting, there will be more severe colds and flu this year, our already strained workforce will crumble.’