Scotland is facing a “major crisis” in social care as workers turn their back on the industry over low pay and conditions, a report has found.
Nurses working in care are seen as “second-class citizens” by hospital colleagues and the unsocial hours are also an issue.
More than half (60 per cent) of care providers said recruitment and retention is worse this year compared to last, according to the report today entitled In the Front Line.
Donald Macaskill, of Scottish Care, said: “Social care support is a major human service within Scottish society and this research has underlined the very human impact on hard-pressed and overworked staff and their families within the independent sector.
“Talented individuals are burning out or leaving the sector because of a lack of directed resource and support.
“This is a haemorrhaging of talent we cannot afford to allow to continue not least because it further limits our abilities to recruit.
“The report reveals a fundamental challenge around the lack of value of care sector workers at all levels.”
The report produced by Scottish Care covered care homes as well as providers of care at home and housing support.
It found 62 per cent of respondents had support worker vacancies, while 27.5 per cent had supervisor vacancies, 17.5 per cent practitioner vacancies and 6 per cent had managerial vacancies.
Nurses in the care sector also feel they are devalued compared to hospital colleagues – seen somehow as “second-class citizens”, making it increasingly difficult to attract nurses.
More than 70 per cent of respondents also said that they had difficulties filling support worker vacancies. Just over 50 per cent reported difficulties recruiting supervisors, 21 per cent practitioners and 18 per cent managers.
Health secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish Government is committed to improving the quality of care in Scotland.
She said: “Attracting the right people, and raising the status and public image of social care as a profession, is key to delivering this. We are already working with Cosla, Scottish Care and other partners to consider how to improve pay and working conditions.”