‘Considerable’ increase in staff sickness in Nottinghamshire social care sector

Staff sickness within Nottinghamshire’s social care sector has increased “considerably” in the last year, council papers show.

By Anna Whittaker
Monday, 14th March 2022, 7:20 pm

There are concerns over sickness levels in the sector which have increased from an average of 14 days a year in February 2021 to 21 days a year in the last year.

This is partly due to Covid and other illnesses, but stress was listed as one of the top three main reasons for absences.

The figures were discussed during Nottinghamshire Council’s latest adult social care and public health committee meeting, where it was revealed £2.73 million of savings are expected in 2022/23 and 2023/24.

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Coun Paul Henshaw, Nottinghamshire Council Labour member for Mansfield West.

Council papers stated, despite adult social care standing down its emergency response to the pandemic, ‘significant pressures remain, with workforce shortages still being experienced across the health and care system’.

Coun David Martin, member for Selston, said: “This report brings home the challenges faced, especially with recruitment and rising staff absences.”

Coun Paul Henshaw, member for Mansfield West, said: “The social care staff we employ and in the wider community have gone that extra mile during this pandemic.

“We need to be asking the government to free money up because there is still a crisis in social care and we are trying to make the best of a bad job.”

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‘Traumatic’

Melanie Brooks, adult social care and health corporate director, said it has been ‘traumatic’ working in social care for the past two years.

She said: “Our staff wellbeing and those of the 22,000 people that work in social care in the county is one of our biggest concerns.

“Social care did not pause or stop during the pandemic. The impact for staff is while other people were sheltering from the risk of infection, in adult social care people continued.

“Our mental health first aiders are offering sessions and we have some time to talk sessions for staff for anybody who has experienced trauma.”

Figures from January 2022 showed about 1,200 new home care workers were required in the county to fix the social care crisis.

Coun Mike Pringle, member for Ollerton, said: “My concern is I would like to see the roads painted gold at everybody’s house we go to, but I know that’s not going to be the case.

“I am concerned about these other savings that have got to be made.”

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