More than 900 adult social care workers a day quit their job in England last year, new figures reveal.
Service providers warn that growing staff shortages mean vulnerable people are receiving poorer levels of care.
In a letter to the prime minister, the chairman of the UK Homecare Association said the adult social care system – which applies to those over the age of 18 – has begun to collapse.
The government said an extra £2bn is being invested in the system.
An ageing population means demand is increasing for adult social care services.
Those who provide care to people directly in their own homes, or in nursing homes, say a growing shortage of staff means people face receiving deteriorating levels of care.
“You just can’t provide a consistent level of care if you have to keep recruiting new people”, said Sue Gregory, who has been a care home nurse in North Yorkshire for 13 years.
“Its very simple, not many people want to do this kind of work, and this is a profession that relies on you getting to know the people you are looking after.”
Data gathered by the charity Skills for Care, shows that in 2015-16 there were more than 1.3 million people employed in the adult social care sector in England.
Analysing the data, BBC News has found that:
- An estimated 338,520 adult social care workers left their roles in 2015-16. That is equivalent to 928 people leaving their job every day.
- 60% of those leaving a job left working in the adult social care sector altogether
- The average full-time frontline care worker earned £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 a year. The median average UK salary last year was around £27,600 for full time workers.
- One in every four social care workers was employed on a zero hours contract.
- There was an estimated shortage of 84,320 care workers, meaning around one in every 20 care roles remained vacant.
- The figures show that social care providers are struggling to retain their staff, with the industry having a staff turnover rate of 27% – nearly twice the average for other professions in the UK.
“This is not the job I’m going to be doing for the rest of my career” said 25 year old Trudi Hewitt, who works at a care home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
“I really care about the people I look after, but I just feel that the care sector is a dead end job”.
“It’s upsetting and disheartening when you find out that people earn more than you do in a supermarket just for stacking shelves.”