Social care sector staffing to become increasingly challenging as UK sees unprecedented rise in demand for long-term care
Property consultants at JLL have calculated that more than 90,000 more staff will be needed in the Scottish social care sector over the next two decades to cope with the rising numbers of those aged 85, whilst the working age demographic falls by over 171,000.
Its report – The Social Care Deficit: All Our Futures – reveals that the ability to staff the social care sector will become increasingly challenging as the UK sees unprecedented rises in need for long-term care.
It claims that by 2036, the number of people aged over 85 in Scotland will more than double to 250,000. As a result, JLL predicts demand for care home beds alone to grow by 70% to 63,000 by 2036, from 37,500 today.
In order to satisfy this growth in supply, JLL says £3.5 billion of new investment would be required just in care homes and nearly half of all the new staff needed will be required in these settings.
Over the next ten years, 37,000 more staff will be required in the social care sector, with a further 54,000 in the following decade, a combined 91,000. During this period, Scotland’s workforce will fall nationwide by over 171,000, implying providers of social care may need to work even harder to recruit and retain adequate numbers of staff.
Alan Bennett, Director at JLL Alternatives in Scotland, said: “Our report shows a growing need across Scotland for additional staff in the care sector to look after older people with long-term care needs. However, the issue of staff shortages is severely compounded by a reduction in the pool of the working age population. Based on our projections, the shortfalls will be most pronounced in Lanarkshire, Fife and the Highlands.”
Eamonn Meadows, Associate Director at JLL Alternatives, added: “With increasing demand for staff in all parts of the UK, we could be facing serious labour shortages in the social care sector in the absence of internal or external migration.”
The report encourages not only greater investment into both care homes and less staff intensive retirement housing, but also in delivering more support for the growing network of informal carers who provide care at home.
Ollie Saunders, Lead Director at JLL Alternatives, said: “The UK is woefully unprepared to meet the challenges presented by its growing aging population and staffing is clearly an issue that needs addressing. The problem is simply not going to disappear.”
The private sector currently accounts for about 80% of all investment into social care real estate and is expected to have a prominent role in the development of new, and replacement, care homes and retirement housing.
JLL says investors will put greater scrutiny on the attendant commercial risks such as staffing before committing fund to new development and there is a risk that a two-tier market becomes entrenched across the UK.