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EU Settled Status, Exemptions and more…

25 June 2018

The social care workforce has been impacted by a range of policy decisions and announcements over the last week and I thought it would be useful to draw these together for members. 

At the end of last week, the government made clear the way in which existing EU residents of the UK can obtain ‘settled status’ if they wish to remain and work in the UK after June 2021. The scheme for this will open in 2019. Full details of the scheme can be found here, although note that parliament still has to finalise the arrangements. The meaning of ‘settled status’ has also been clarified, detailing that it includes eligibility for public services, public funds & pensions and British Citizenship if people meet the requirements. There was a specific notification of the impact on social care, in a letter written to the Care Provider Alliance by Lord O’Shaughnessy, the Parliamentary Secretary of State for Health (Lords), the following points were made:

“I understand this is an area of concern for many staff working in the NHS and social care, and their employers.”

“The Home Office will work with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, NHS Improvement, and NHS Employers to design a range of user friendly guidance that will allow employers to best support their staff during the application period which will be open until June 2021.” 

“I ask you to make your members aware of this as soon as possible, and I hope it gives them reassurance that we recognise and value the contribution of EU citizens to the NHS and social care.”

This clarification on the status of EU citizens is helpful, and of course comes on the back of the announcement last week that Doctors and Nurses are being exempt from the Tier 2 cap on migration. This exemption applies to nurses working in social care, as well as in the NHS – and therefore it is hoped that there will be a continued pipeline of non EU nurses who will continue to want to come and work in the UK social care sector. 

On the other hand, members will remember that earlier in June, NHS staff voted to accept the government’s pay rise recommendations, meaning that, particularly for members seeking to employ staff in areas with large NHS establishments, competition for staff that revolves around salaries will get a whole lot tougher from next year (or if you are in Scotland, the pay award came in immediately). 

In addition, we now know that the workforce strategy for social care will be delayed until the Autumn, and therefore the ability to address some of the key infrastructure changes and integration opportunities around workforce have been further pushed back. 

The frustration around the government’s lack of action around social care workforce exposed itself in a number of different ways this week. The first of these was the announcement of a new partnership between the GMB Union and HC One. More details of this can be found here. The second was the publication of research and an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to demand action on the status of the social care workforce. The full letter can be found here. The letter refers to concerning research carried out by Anchor around perceptions of working in the social care sector including the following:

  • 78% of people unlikely to consider beginning a career in social care, with 22% saying it is not valued by government 
  • 71% of parents wouldn’t encourage their children into a social care career
  • 67% think a career in social care is undervalued by society
  • 35% think working in a care home is associated with being a ‘woman’s’ career’
NCF will continue to work with central government to raise the key issues of workforce, and work alongside other representative on the Care Provider Alliance and Skills for Care to keep the social care workforce firmly on the agenda 

Green Paper delayed until the Autumn
Members will undoubtedly have noted the announcement by Jeremy Hunt last Monday that the Green Paper will now be delayed until the Autumn. NCF commented on this, and our feedback was reported across the care media. The full press release can be found here. This announcement was made in relation to more detail on the NHS funding plans for the next five years. Last week’s update contained more details of that announcement and reaction, and a NCF blog on the issue can be found here

The announcement of the delay to the green paper has met with a strong rebuke from ADASS, who join NCF in the message that the need for action is now. The full response can be found here.

At a meeting organised by the Care Provider Alliance, there was representation from the Department of Health and Social Care – who answered questions in relation to the separate work stream looking at working age adults – and the need for the forthcoming Green Paper to have regard to the NHS 10 year plan as well as having noted the need for the NHS 10 year plan to connect more fully with social care was also raised. 

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