There are 700 job vacancies in social care in Wales right now, and the Welsh Government is appealing for people to fill those roles. 

Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, today appealed directly to people stating: “We are asking people in Wales to step forward, step up now, your country needs you in this very, very difficult situation.” 

The Deputy Minister for Social Care, Julie Morgan, confirmed there are more than 700 jobs available in care in Wales at the moment, with the Welsh Government having just run a three week recruitment campaign which included television advertising. 

She said it was too soon to say how many people had been recruited from a “very good campaign” and was unable to say how many workers have left the sector. 

“We want, with our recruitment campaign, to let people know this is a fantastic job. Looking after older people, disabled people is one of the most important jobs that can be done. Pay is low and people are attracted to other areas, it is a difficult time, but we are committed to paying the real living wage.” 

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To address recruitment and retention the Welsh Government says it is committed to paying the £9.50 an hour ‘real living wage’. 

The two politicians held a briefing today on the government’s plan to pump £48 million into social care which includes services for the elderly, children and disabled adults with £40m to go “directly into social care via local authorities,” said Julie Morgan 

The cash is money being made available this year by the government and isn’t the Welsh Government's long awaited long term plan for social care.

Though the UK Government last week announced a National Insurance rise to pay for social care in England, expected to be worth around £600m a year to Wales, the deputy minister said the Welsh Government will be waiting to see the full spending plans, but work on its longer-term aspiration of free social care will be re-started. 

“These announcements could mean an extra £600m a year from 2022 but we will have to wait until later in the autumn, and the Comprehensive Spending Review, to find out what these announcements really mean for Wales because we know that what can be given in one hand by the UK Government in consequentials can often be very easily and quickly be taken away in the other by the Treasury.” 

She said the government will look at the “best possible way” to use the additional funding: “This will include our aspiration for a social care service which is free at the point of need just like our health service.” 

At the briefing, plans for vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds and booster jabs were also confirmed.

The deputy minister said the money announced by the Welsh Government today is to address the immediate issues facing the sector which she described as being in an “immediate crisis”. 

“Our social care in Wales is facing a perfect storm of pressures which have come to ahead during the pandemic,” said Julie Morgan. 

“It’s dealing with the pandemic which has placed extraordinary demands on the workforce,” said the deputy minister who thanked social care workers and the “army” of unpaid carers. 

“The sector, of course, is also dealing with the consequences of Brexit and the loss of many staff who have returned home.

"These staffing pressures are being made worse, and as our economy recovers and other sectors recruit, many people are choosing to leave social care to work elsewhere.

"And of course the workforce is not immune to the current high rates of Covid in our communities. Sickness and isolation are taking their toll on the workforce. 

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“We are committed to raising wages by implementing the real living wage across this complex sector. This work has started and I will receive urgent advice from the social care fair work forum this month about implementation.” 

Asked about how the £40m going to local authorities will make a difference, and criticism from Care Forum Wales which speaks for independent providers at the allocation, the deputy minister said: “It’s absolutely right that money is going to the local authorities. That money is intended to deal with the pressures they have had to experience. 

“During the pandemic we’ve given the hardship fund to local authorities which has given an uplift to pay for care packages which has also paid for voids in care homes, which has been very much welcomed by Care Forum Wales because it means we’ve managed to keep care homes afloat during this pandemic.

"I don’t think we’ve had one care home that has closed because of the pandemic in terms of not being able to cope and that is certainly different from what’s happened over the border. 

“So it is up to the local authorities to use that money with their knowledge of local circumstances to support the workforce.

"In terms of a pay increase we are committed to paying the real living wage to social care workers and we’ve set up the social care fair work forum which is going to urgently advise me next month on how we’re going to start introducing that uplift to pay for the social care workforce.  

“We’ve given a commitment apart from that £40m we will be paying the real living wage. Some local authorities already pay the real living wage.” 

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Health minister Eluned Morgan said the shortage of staff in the care sector is contributing to there being more than 1,000 patients in hospital, at present, who could be discharged: “Obviously that is creating problems for our NHS services.” 

She said weekly meetings are being held with health boards and local authorities to see what more can be done to get people back home “with the support that they need, as soon as possible.” 

Asked why the government still hasn’t produced its long term social care plan the deputy minister said: “We are in a better position now as we know what is happening with the UK Government and we should have £600m a year. This money is not becoming available immediately so we want to take our time to see what we see as a long term plan for social care so we are going to start doing that immediately.” 

A jobs portal has been set up on the Social Care Wales website for those wanting to find work in the sector.

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