Local authority leaders have urged the Government to consider asking retired care workers to return to work in order to boost an already over-stretched social care workforce in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
The Government has introduced measures for doctors and nurses to come back to the NHS and for social workers to return to social care. The Local Government Association (LGA) believes a similar approach should be taken to care work.
Retired care workers, who are experienced and would not need much training, would help support people discharged from hospital. This would free up beds for those being treated for coronavirus.
It would also enable councils to better support the 1.5 million vulnerable people identified by the Government as most at risk from coronavirus and needing to stay at home for 12 weeks.
‘The coronavirus outbreak will severely test and stretch our social care workforce, who already do a tremendous job in the face of extreme pressures,’ said Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.
‘But supporting retired care workers to return to work could be a significant booster measure for the sector, to get through the highly challenging weeks and months ahead.’
The LGA recommends that retired workers looking to return could be asked to contact the employer they retired from. The sector could also set up regional contact groups to ensure retirees are placed where they are most needed.
Care England, the body representing independent care providers, has made a similar recommendation.
In an open letter to the public, Care England chief executive Martin Green called on retired care professionals to return to work ‘to engage in this national effort to keep social care operational.’
He also encouraged those who are currently not working because of Covid-19 - particularly those in catering, hospitality or air travel - to support the adult social care sector.
‘Last week in response to the COVID19 outbreak the Government called upon retired nurses and doctors to return to work with the line “your NHS needs you”,’ Mr Green wrote.
‘Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, is complementing this message, “social care needs you too”.’