The FOA public services union is calling on the government and municipalities to take urgent action to tackle staffing shortages in eldercare. A recent survey found that three out of four local authorities didn't have enough eldercare staff and the situation is set to deteriorate as many workers retire. The sector needs around 13000 new recruits every year but the level is currently half that. The union says that employers use a lot of part-time work to save money and while many employees in the sector actually want to work full time. There is also a question of higher pay for young workers.
Union calls for action on eldercare staffing
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The FOA trade union highlights figures from the VIVE research organisation that show massive variations in staffing levels in eldercare establishments across the country. The staff to resident ratio at night ranges from 1:8 to 1:41, while the evening shift ratio varies from 1:2.7 to 1:11. The variation of ratios on day shifts is less dramatic but still ranges from 1:1.4 to 1:4.2. FOA argues that the varying needs of residents can't account for such variations and that in many cases homes have failed to increase staffing to cope with the higher demands of older residents with health problems
The FNV trade union has submitted proposals to the government to set staffing levels in eldercare. The union wants to see two workers for every eight residents and emphasises that there should be a balance of different skill levels. FNV argues that this is a crucial measure that will help improve recruitment and retention in the sector by ensuring that workers are not overworked and have enough time to spend with clients.
The FOA trade union has called for urgent action to address training and recruitment in eldercare. It quotes a new report revealing a sharp decline in the numbers of people being trained to work in the sector. It was already forecast that there would be a staffing shortage of around 40000 by 2028 but the figures on training - a decline of 36% in the number of young people on training courses - suggest an even greater shortage. The government has agreed to a request by FOA to convene a summit of politicians, employers and unions to debate how to tackle the problem.