Care home workers should get a £500 Christmas bonus to stop them from quitting the profession, health bosses say.

NHS Providers — which represents healthcare staff — warned workers were already being lured away by up to £3,000 sign-up payments from Amazon.

The ministers were asked by the group to give a holiday paypacket as a way to keep the sector’s workers from leaving in what is likely to be a hard winter. 

Recent years have seen a lot of vacancies in the sector. Care homes became chaotic after Covid introduced its ‘no jab no job’ policy.

According to estimates, 57,000 people were fired as a consequence of this controversial rule. This is a 10% reduction in the overall workforce.

Experts warned this — on top of 100,000 vacancies — could force many homes to close and put residents lives at risk because of unsafe staffing levels. 

Health bosses have called for a £500 bonus to be given to care home workers (stock image)

Health bosses have called for a £500 bonus to be given to care home workers (stock image)

Pictured: This graph displays the percentage of care home staff who received the first and second doses. The latest available data is October 31, 2018.

Chris Hopson, chief executive at NHS Providers, called for a ‘minimum’ £500 bonus, which would cost the public some £750million overall.  

He added: ‘It is this type of immediate, urgent action the Government should be thinking about… because the system has to stop people moving out of social care into other industries such as retail.

“We understand that those industries are looking to attract Christmas employees as this is the time when they can make substantial profits.

According to a campaign, the collapsing system of social care leaves elderly people ‘unneglected’ and ‘abandoned’

Elderly care residents remain ‘neglected, abandoned and betrayed’ nearly two years into the pandemic, campaigners have warned.

Hundreds of thousands of Britain’s most vulnerable are suffering due to the ‘collapsing’ social care system, while the rest of society embraces normality.

Many residents are ‘imprisoned’ in their rooms as care homes continue to impose draconian Covid visiting rules, which lawyers say breach their human rights.

Charities say residents’ suffering will intensify this winter as chronic staffing shortages mean carers can only do the ‘bare minimum’.

Tens of thousands of care staff lost their jobs last Thursday due to a law requiring them all to be double-jabbed – forcing some homes to close beds and refuse to take on new patients.

Daily Mail campaigned to end the ban on visiting that was imposed upon 400,000 people during the pandemic. Official restrictions were lifted in July.

Many homes still restrict visitors to pre-booked, supervised 30-minute slots. Rules also stipulate that they must lock down for at least two weeks in Covid cases.

Diane Mayhew, from campaign group Rights for Residents, said ‘essential care givers’ must be given a legal right to visit in all circumstances.

She said: ‘The rest of society is back to normal, but people in care homes remain an afterthought. They have been neglected, abandoned and betrayed throughout this pandemic.’

‘That’s why Amazon and others are paying a substantial bonus. If we don’t stop the loss of social care staff, that will be a real issue and it needs to be looked at really quickly.’ 

Care workers in Scotland and Northern Ireland were given a £500 ‘thank you’ bonus for their work during the pandemic, while in Wales they have received £1,235. 

They have not received any such help from their counterparts in England. 

Unions and care leaders have called for care home staff to get a £1,000 bonus this winter.

Stephen Chandler, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), stated that yesterday’s four-figure payment would show that the country ‘prized their skills.

“It would send out a strong message to people that carework is a respected career and will be well rewarded in future,” he stated.

“Unlike other UK care workers, English care workers haven’t been given any government bonus to help them through this pandemic,”

Martin Green, Care England’s Chief Executive, has called for ministers to express gratitude to workers who have fought the virus.

He said that bonuses should not be taxed and should be paid to employees directly, rather than through their employer.  

Retention bonuses help to acknowledge the work of social workers. He said that this was a way to say thank you, and also support staff retention.

It brings us in line with Wales and Scotland. We are facing a workforce crisis in this sector and must do everything we can to preserve our people, as they are our most valuable resource.

Gavin Edwards, a senior national officer of UNISON, called for ministers to increase the pay rate for social workers in order to combat inflation following the pandemic.

A petition was launched to get social care and NHS workers a £500 ‘thank you’ bonus in January, and got some 16,000 signatures.

Ministers rejected it. The Department of Health stated at that time that it was extremely grateful to the sector, but not considering bonus payments. 

It stated it was looking at other options to increase recognition for health and social service staff. 

Covid was particularly severe for residents of care homes during the initial wave.

Later it became clear that hundreds upon scores of patients infected were released from hospitals and allowed to return home without any further testing. 

Ministers argued that their new mandate to use vaccines in care homes for the prevention of future outbreaks is to protect this industry. 

For comment, we have reached out the Department of Health.