Major difficulties recruiting carers in Norfolk revealed in crunch meeting
- Credit: PA
Care home leaders have revealed huge difficulties in finding new carers, with one Norfolk home in one year losing all but five of 38 new staff within a month.
Sir Henry Bellingham MP met with leading figures in the care home sector at Docking House, a care home which has faced ongoing recruitment issues.
Raj Sehgal, owner and managing director of Arms Care, said the care home currently relied on 12 carers who are sponsored migrant workers.
He said carers who were recruited from the area would often jump between different care homes based on the salary offered and that the seasonal work along the coastal towns meant carers would leave for months at a time.
'The biggest challenge we face is recruitment,' he added. 'It is not something you can get anybody to do, it is a physically stressful job and you need people with the right skill and ability to do it.' In one year, Docking House interviewed 169 people, of which 87 were offered jobs, 38 were recruited and 33 left within the first month.
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In September 2015, the care home received a visit by six compliance officers from the UK Border Agency who had revoked their licence to sponsor migrant workers.
Mr Sehgal said this was done in a bid to clampdown on illegal workers but that it affected genuine workers who had a right to work in the UK.
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At the time Docking House had seven carers, who each received a letter in April 2016 stating that they had to find a different sponsor or leave the UK.
One worker who had been affected was Rowena Pagsibigan, who migrated from the Philippines and has been a carer at Docking House for nearly 10 years.
When Mr Sehgal decided to fight the decision an agreement was reached with the Home Office and he was able to obtain the licence back.
Other leading figures from the care sector, including Nadra Ahmed OBE, chairman of the National Care Association, and Rishi Jawaheer, director of The Jawa Group, said recruiting overseas workers was vital and stressed it was not about taking jobs away from local people.
Mr Bellingham said he would arrange a meeting with the care minister at the Department of Health and Social Care, adding: 'The minister talks about high standards being needed but he also needs to know the barriers which are in your way.'