Warning of shortage of workers as cost of care rises sharply in region

Nurse and senior lady in a care home

Nurse and senior lady in a care home - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

People are shunning jobs in social care to work in supermarkets, leaving a shortfall in the army of workers needed to look after us in old age, it has been warned.

Dennis Bacon, chairman of care providers body Norfolk Independent Care, said the lack of respect for social care work has put people off joining the profession, leaving the industry with a middle-aged workforce which will not go on forever.

It is one of the factors pushing up annual care costs, which rose £2,912, or 9.4pc, in the East, leaving the region with the most expensive care homes for the first time. The average cost for a residential space is now £33,800 per year.

Prestige Nursing + Care, which provided the figures, warned that the hike in costs means that those who need care in later life could have to sell their homes in order to raise the funds. Mr Bacon warned that it was a 'pretty bad situation', and also warned that the government pledge to raise the minimum wage could see care providers go bust.

Sue Whitaker, chairman of Norfolk County Council's Adult Social Care Committee, said council funding had been significantly cut at a time when prices in the care sector were going up and demands for their services were increasing.

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'This is a national problem and ultimately if prices continue to rise at a time when our budgets are not, something will need to give. Providing good quality care for some of Norfolk's most vulnerable people is important to us,' she said. She added organisations across the sector were making the case for increased funding for adult social care and she hoped it would be addressed in the forthcoming spending review.

According to Department for Work and Pensions figures, the average cost of a single room in a UK residential care home is now more than double the average pensioner's income of £14,300.

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Are you facing spiralling care costs? Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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