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Nurse exoduses, homes closing and inadequate providers - the challenges facing council's care services

PUBLISHED: 17:07 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 29 July 2019

Nursing homes had a 50pc staff turnaround of nurses in 2018/19/ Picture: ThinkstockPhotos

Nursing homes had a 50pc staff turnaround of nurses in 2018/19/ Picture: ThinkstockPhotos

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An exodus of nursing staff, care home closures and beds being lost are heaping pressure on the county's care services, a report has warned.

An annual report on adult social care in the county has outlined the challenges for the services, including a 50pc turnover of nurses in nursing homes.

The report, which goes before Norfolk County Council's cabinet next week, describes how poor pay packets and increasing workloads are impacting care workers in the county.

It also states that in the 2018/19 financial year the county lost 173 care home beds, a dozen care homes and five home care providers.

Meanwhile, it was also noted that more than one in five of the county's 465 care providers were judged by the Care Quality Commission as either inadequate or requiring improvement - though the percentage requiring improvement (18pc) was a three per cent improvement on the previous year.

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Tim Leadbitter, the owner of Suncourt care home in Sheringham, said recent years had seen it become increasingly difficult to recruit people into the industry.

He said: "This [recruitment] is a particular issue that exists for nursing homes, for a variety of reasons.

"There was a time where it used to be possible to get people to train without having to pay for it but it is becoming more and more expensive for people to get the proper qualifications."

Mr Leadbitter added that an increasing focus on paper trails from inspectors had created a challenging environment for providers.

The council report states that currently there are around 27,000 people employed in the Norfolk care market, the majority of which work in the private sector, and says that wage rates are among the reason for the high turn over.

It says: "There is a national shortage of nurses and in Norfolk the turnover rate for nurses in nursing homes is approaching 50pc.

"Pay rates for care workers are close to national minimum wage levels and the demands on these low paid workers are increasing with greater complexity due to the population living longer with multiple comorbidities."

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