Why Carers Are Needed Now More Than Ever

Caring is less a job and more a vocation. Those who work in care, care very deeply – and those kinds of people have never been needed more.


Caring is less a job and more a vocation. Those who work in care, care very deeply – and those kinds of people have never been needed more.

Here, we talk to two members of the team at Bluebird Care Worthing about the staffing crisis; the importance of social workers in the care industry; and why now is the very best time to make the switch and become one yourself.

The importance of social carers

“You get a really warm feeling at the end of the day when you come home knowing you’ve helped someone” says Rebecca, when asked what she loves most about her job. A care assistant for the past two and a half years at Bluebird Care Worthing, she’s worked throughout the pandemic, supporting some of the area’s most vulnerable people with their day to day needs in the loneliest of times.

A portrait of Bluebird Care Worthing Care Assistant Rebecca“A lot of people don’t know what a carer does,” she says. “But it’s so varied. It can be anything from administering medication, to personal care, to doing a customer’s shopping, their housework, taking them to hospital appointments or to parks, cooking for them, or just having a social call – like sitting with them and having a cup of tea and a chat.

“Our customers love to talk about what they used to do for work and their family,” she continues. “We make sure they’re safe, that they have a friendly face with them, and that if anything happens they have someone who knows what to do and who to call. They’re ever so grateful, I must hear ‘thank you’ a million times a year and I have to tell my customers “you don’t need to thank me.” But when I put myself in their shoes, having this person do things for me I can’t do myself, I think I’d feel that way too.”

Why there is a shortage of social carers

Despite the considerable upsides, the entire sector is struggling to attract new staff. We asked Kat Thomas, Director of Bluebird Care Worthing, why that was the case.

“There’s a severe lack of people wanting to join the industry and a fear of changing jobs and industries because of Covid,” she says. “I also think a lot of people who were out of work during the pandemic, learned new skills and opened their own businesses. Brexit could also be an issue; the outside workforce not coming in could mean the UK workforce is now busier, so there are less of them available. And obviously last year things changed multiple times; just when we got a bit of stability back, it changed again, so people could be waiting to see what happens.”

“It’s a problem because the number of people needing care has stayed the same if not gone up,” she continues. However, the number of people needing care in their own homes has increased. People are perhaps a little more afraid of being in care homes now because of Covid, but we can’t meet that demand. No UK care company currently can. It’s a very real concern.”

The impact of the care crisis

The impact of the current care recruitment crisis is felt by everyone involved – particularly older people who suddenly find they need care unexpectedly.

“The best place for someone of that age is often to stay at home and have care there,” says Rebecca. “the impact when people can’t get that care is huge – especially at the moment. Since Covid, a lot of our customers haven’t seen their family much and aren’t allowed to go to the events where they’d see their friends because of their age and vulnerability. It’s only been us carers that they’ve seen. It means a lot for them to see us, whether it’s once, twice or three times a day, because that’s the only face they’re seeing. The people who can’t get care… they might not see anyone at all for days on end.”

A lonely old woman stares out of the window

“We’ve got a waiting list that covers an entire whiteboard in our office,” says Kat. We’re taking maybe three calls a day from people who we can’t support with care, and some people who call us we’re not even their first call. The knock-on impact is massive. Hospitals are taking the strain and having to keep people in who are medically fit, which just stretches the NHS even thinner. And you’ve got the stretch to family members having to look after people more, or husbands and wives having to look after each other, or having to take care of themselves, if they even can.

“The problem with that is the care industry is normally very reactive. People call us when someone has had an accident or they’ve visited a relative and they aren’t able to cope. People don’t pre-plan their care needs, it’s usually a case of ‘we need care now.’ The crisis is taking away our ability to react to that and be there for people who desperately need it.

No compromise on quality of care

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is that our customers get what they pay for.” Says Kat. “Across the industry at the moment that isn’t always the case. For many care providers the customer might need an hour, but the provider only has resources to give them half an hour. They’re spread that thin,” she explains.

“We don’t do that at Bluebird Care. We offer the same quality of care as always, but we just can’t get to all of the people we want to. Sometimes even our office staff, who all have backgrounds in care themselves, are out covering sicknesses by going on care visits to customers.

“Occasionally our carers have had to work longer hours. But they then risk burning out, and we have to manage that. We care about our team the same way we do about our customers and we realise you can’t put too much on them, you have to give them rest. But of course, then we need to cover the ones who are resting. So it’s a vicious circle.

“I’ve never seen a waitlist this long, and while it’s a compliment that people are willing to wait that long for our care, we don’t know when we can get to them. We are urgently, urgently in need of new carers to come in and join our team. That would give us the balance and allow us to get to more people who need us, while giving our existing team the room they need to breathe a little too after the pandemic.”

Are you considering working in care?

A Bluebird carer kneels down while talking to a smiling customer

If you’ve read this far then there’s a good chance you might be curious about a career in care. Rebecca took that step in early 2019, so we asked her what she’d say to anyone considering doing the same.

“It’s definitely worth giving it a shot!” she nods. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, what life stage you’re at – we have people join us who range from 18 to their 60s. If you’ve got that time, that caring heart and that nature to want to give back, then you’re not going to lose out. With our training you shadow an experienced carer, so you actually get to see what the job involves and know if it’s a good fit for you.

“Bluebird look after you, Rebecca continues. “We have a really good rate of pay, good bonuses, our mileage and travel time is paid for. We have social gatherings and guaranteed hours contracts. I’ve been two and a half years and I’ve never not had the hours I need. There are options to progress in your career – I’m doing my NVQ, so that shows you can better yourself with your learning. And the office staff are so friendly; I never feel like I can’t ask them for help.”

“We can’t do what we do without our care team,” explains Kat. “We treat them as we’d want to be treated, and we look after our team so they can look after our customers. I never worry about our customers because of that. The only thing I worry about is the people we can’t currently get to.

“Saying no to someone whose husband has broken his hip and can’t leave hospital until they’ve found care for him… it just goes against why I do what I do as the director of a care provider.,” Kat continues. “Being able to help is why we exist, and it’s why the team all work here. We just need more kind, caring people to join us so we can bring that care to more people who need it, at the time they need it most.”

Want to become a Bluebird?

Visit our careers page to see all vacancies at Bluebird Care Worthing or call us on 01903 730026 to discuss why a career in care could be the right move for you.


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