Our Take On The Social Care Crisis

Care in Britain is experiencing the greatest staffing crisis of our times. Here Bluebird Care team members explain the impacts – and how you could help.


Care in Britain is experiencing the greatest staffing crisis of our times. Here Bluebird Care team members explain the impacts – and how you could help.

It’s no secret that social care in Britain is in crisis, with reforms recently announced to overhaul funding to the sector. However, what has gone wrong with social care is about more than funding.

While increasing National Insurance payments from next April, and introducing a Health and Social Care Levy in 2023, may go some way towards helping people afford care, those measures will do nothing to fix the other side of the issue: there simply aren’t enough care staff to meet an ever-growing demand.

“You have to care to care”

“Recruiting care staff is becoming harder and harder, “says Julie, business development lead at Bluebird Care’s Franchise Support Centre. “We could point to Brexit, or to Covid – and there are many macro factors that go into it too. Lots of carers aren’t seen as professionals, with a proper career in a proper profession – which of course they absolutely are. And without being too political, I think sometimes social care is seen as a poor relation to the NHS. That never helps, either. But this past 12 months in particular it’s been even more difficult.

“It’s also proving hard to get carers who’ll stick around,” adds Claire, one of Bluebird Care Gosport’s longest-serving care assistants. “We’ve had some start and sometimes they leave within a day or two because they don’t give it a chance. I can’t understand it myself because it’s a really rewarding job, but you do have to persevere with it – it’s no good being scared by a customer having one bad day, because the good days will come too. You have to be the right kind of person for it really. It’s not like any other job. You have to care to care! The ones who stay are the ones who feel that deeply.”

“A significant waiting list”

a lonely elderly man stares out of the window

The impact of the care crisis is currently being felt by everyone involved – especially those in desperate need of care for themselves or a loved one.

“Practically every care company across the country has a significant waiting list of people they would like to give care to and can’t” says Julie. “If each company had more carers, they’d be able to fill that need and more – the need is that high.

“There have even been care providers who have been unable to fulfil their contracts with local councils,” she continues. They’ve wanted to hand those care packages back and councils have had to tell them no. Nobody has quite seen anything like the situation the care industry is facing right now. It’s unprecedented.”

“Left to their own devices”

“The really sad thing is the people who can’t get care are just left to their own devices” says Claire. “For instance, my aunt was in hospital and they let her go home with no care in place. She’s in her 80s and couldn’t manage on her own. Luckily my niece is a carer so she came to the rescue in her own time. But if that was somebody who didn’t have anybody to do that, they could be in real trouble. Families aren’t always equipped to deal with that situation. That’s what carers are here for. There just aren’t enough of us at the moment to go around.”

“It’s really about people’s safety” adds Julie. “If you aren’t able to physically look after yourself and you aren’t able to find someone to do it, then you either live in an unsafe environment, or you move into a care home – which have had their own stresses and challenges during Covid – or you end up in hospital. If you’re lucky enough to have family to step in, it can be a huge impact on them. Basically, a lot of people want to stay in their own home but the current crisis risks taking that option away.”

“The majority of customers who are starting on a care journey have lost some of their independence” Julie continues. When they call us, it’s because they really, really need it. So to tell them we can’t help them in their time of need – it’s heart-breaking.”

“We don’t want to let anyone down”

A carer arrives and waves to an elderly customer

Of course, caring so much can be a double-edged sword. Part of being a successful care provider is making sure our carers are set up to be successful, and avoid the obvious pitfalls.

“The hardest thing for people who care is they aren’t really wired to say ‘that person can’t have care tonight,’ says Julie. They often care so much they’ll burn themselves out trying to make sure everyone has what they need. We don’t want to let anyone down but our carers need a rest too. So, it’s very important to us that we don’t compromise on care for our customers, but we also want our carers to feel cared about as well. That’s another reason we need more carers – so our existing ones don’t feel the need to push themselves harder to care for everyone. That just doesn’t work at all.”

“Thankfully Bluebird Care are very good,” smiles Claire. They make sure you have your holiday and get a rest. It just means they have to be clever on scheduling. At the moment Gosport we’re only allowed two carers off at a time, but with more carers that number might go up, which would be good for everyone. It’s just about finding people who care as much as we do.”

“So much more than a job”

So, what can be done to fix the social care crisis when it comes to the shortage of carers?

Well, if you’re curious enough about life as a carer to have read this far, then you could be part of the solution. Switching to a career in care brings some incredible experiences, and a host of benefits you may never have expected.

“People think caring for a living can be hard,” says Claire. “And it can be, but you get many more good days than bad days. I’ve been doing this a long time and I love helping people. It’s so much more than a job. It’s different every day and you’re rarely dealing with the same thing two days in a row. It can be physically and mentally demanding, but you get full training and when you have a regular round and get to know your customers, it can be so enjoyable. But you have to give it at least a week! That’s what I did. Then a week turned into a month, and a month turned into a year. And here I am, 20 years later!”

A Bluebird carer smiles while pushing an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair

“Caring is very rewarding,” echoes Julie. “You get to work the hours that you can and live the rest of your life. You also make lifelong friends and it’s a lovely environment to be in. I’m not going to say it’s not hard work at times, but the thing that made me love it is that often when I visited someone, I knew I might be the only person they saw that day. It’s a real privilege to be able to be that for someone – especially on occasions like Christmas Day and Mother’s Day. It’s a very special thing to be a part of and share that with them.”

Considering life as a carer?

If you’re thinking about making the switch to life in care, there couldn’t be a better time to make that move. And in Bluebird Care, we honestly believe there isn’t a more caring company you could be joining.

“Obviously I’m biased!” laughs Julie, “but I’ve worked for several different care providers over the years. I joined Bluebird Care 12 years ago and I’ve never considered going anywhere else since. It’s completely different.

“When you work for a small independent provider there’s often no oversight and it can be a bit seat of your pants. On the other hand, when you work for a national business you can get a little lost in the system. As an individual you might never really feel like you can be part of making positive change. With Bluebird Care, because it’s franchised, every business is a passionate, family-run type business, but has the support of the network. If you work here, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll know the person who runs your business. You’ll get to see how much they care – about the customers, and their carers – and you’ll have a much better chance of getting your voice heard too.”

“Bluebird Care are about as fair as you can be” agrees Claire. “In Gosport we all stick together as a team and have social events now the pandemic is receding. We also have things like health insurance and they’re even paying for our MOTs now. It’s just the little things that make a big difference. If I didn’t like it so much I wouldn’t still be here, but I just really enjoy being a Bluebird and working in care. If more people joined us, I honestly think they’d feel that way too.”

Join us today!

The care crisis isn’t going anywhere, and as long as it continues, we’ll need passionate, kind, warm-hearted people to join our team at Bluebird Care Gosport.

If that’s you, then take a look at our Gosport carer jobs today, and please do get in touch if you have any questions.


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