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Skilled recruitment - Brexit immigration controls ‘a serious threat’ to the UK health and social care sector


At our latest healthcare event, on 14 March, representatives from some of Yorkshire’s most successful businesses in the sector came together to discuss the vital role played by an organisation’s staff and the importance of operational excellence.

With changes to immigration rules due to play a part in the nearing Brexit negotiations, we also polled attendants on their views on the future of healthcare in the face of such major challenges and in particular the recruitment of skilled workers.

The results of our poll were stark, with 78% of our healthcare experts saying they saw the potential tightening of immigration controls and the reduction in the numbers of EU workers as a significant threat to the provision of health and social care in the UK.

More than half (57%) also said the weakness of Sterling since the EU referendum last June had been a disadvantage to their business, while 78% said that they were already facing problems recruiting skilled workers.

Clarion’s business development director, Steve Crow, said: “Not surprisingly, the results of our poll are pretty dramatic and echo the recent media focus on the shortfall in NHS staff that is set to result from likely new restrictions on immigration.”

He added: “The health and social care sectors are facing escalating and unprecedented pressures. An ageing population, cuts in social care budgets and now Brexit compound to create an extremely  challenging situation, which, as we saw from the debate at our event,  healthcare leaders are working together to address and to ensure that the high standards of care demanded by the care Quality Commission (CQC) continue to be delivered. ”

Staff recruitment, training and retention were top of the agenda at our event. Paula Chamberlain of Essential Healthcare talked about the need for an image change for the care sector to encourage young people to see it as a desirable industry to pursue a career. An innovative partnership with Batley Bulldogs rugby league club was also targeting prospective male employees, said Paula, and helping to redress the gender imbalance of the sector.

Focusing on dementia care in Leeds Tim Sanders, commissioning manager of NHS Leeds CCGs – Leeds City Council, talked about how the growth in diagnoses of dementia has risen at a slower rate than experts predicted, but that the needs of people with dementia could be extremely complex. He explained how service providers in Leeds are coming together to best meet those complex needs.

Diane Rodger of Horizon Healthcare Homes discussed how the company’s care home Beckside Lodge in Bradford achieved its ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC and looked in detail at the steps taken to create such superb levels of care and support for residents.

Also speaking at the event were Sharon Allen from Skills for Care, who outlined the practical tools and support available to help adult social care organisations recruit, develop and lead their staff.

Paul Jones of health and social care employment agency Local Care Force covered the topic of recruiting quality, skilled workers and keeping a happy workforce, emphasising the importance of good compliance and training. 

With Clarion’s employment, private client and family teams on hand to offer legal advice about staffing and issues around dementia, the event was an informative and collaborative discussion, blending informed debate with sound advice.

For more information on our healthcare expertise and contacts please see our healthcare sector page.

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.