Care Minister Gillian Keegan rejects calls to bring in more social care workers from abroad to ease staffing crisis as she says ‘hoovering up’ employees from other countries is not the answer

  • Minister Gillian Keegan rejected calls to relax immigration rules for care staff
  • Ms Keegan stated that ‘hoovering up staff from abroad’ is not the solution to staff crisis.
  • Watchdog on care warned that action is needed to stop a ‘tsunami if unmet need’ 

Ministers today rejected calls for easing immigration rules to allow more care workers from overseas to address a national staffing crisis. 

Gillian Keegan (Care Minister) stated that ‘hoovering-up’ workers from other nations is not the solution to sector shortages. 

She said it is a ‘constant battle to keep enough people coming into social care’ but insisted domestic reforms will resolve the problem. 

Her comments came after the Care Quality Commission warned urgent action is needed to prevent a ‘tsunami of unmet need’, with staff ‘exhausted and depleted’. 

Gillian Keegan, the Care Minister, said 'hoovering up' workers from other countries is not the answer to shortages in the sector

Gillian Keegan, Care Minister, stated that ‘hoovering up workers from other countries isn’t the solution to the shortages in this sector

Sky News’ Ms Keegan said this morning: “It is a huge workforce, it is larger even than the NHS, 1.5million persons, and it does face challenges because each year the need for healthcare increases by one to two percent as the population changes in our country. More elderly people mean more need.

‘So it’s this constant battle to keep enough people coming into social care.’

Told that care workers could be added to the Government’s shortage occupation list to allow in staff from abroad, Ms Keegan said: ‘We have senior care workers on that list but I don’t think that is really the answer, hoovering up everybody else’s social care.

‘We have done this before, so in the pandemic what we did before was a very similar thing to what we have announced today.

‘We got extra capacity in the system with agency staff, thousands of new recruits, but also more people working more hours, so paying for childcare in some cases to enable people to be more flexible and work a few more hours.’ 

Ms Keegan said the Government is providing £163million to get extra short-term capacity into the system but said long-term reform is needed.

She stated that it was difficult to fix, as there are 1.1 million vacant jobs. While this money will be helpful, it is a challenge. We must put this workforce on a more solid footing for the long-term.

The Care Quality Commission has warned urgent action is needed to prevent a 'tsunami of unmet need', with staff 'exhausted and depleted

The Care Quality Commission warned that urgent action is required to stop a ‘tsunami’ of unmet needs, in which staff are ‘exhausted’ and ‘depleted’.

“We need to professionalise the workforce. It’s not investing enough in, and the training isn’t being invested enough. There is huge churn, 40% churn.

CQC has warned that social workers are leaving the sector to work in tourism and hospitality. 

CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said that health and care workers are ‘exhausted, depleted’ and are working under intense pressure. There are many services at capacity.

The regulator has warned that there is a serious and deteriorating situation in recruitment and retention of staff in adult social care.