by Simon Bentley – Phoenix Specialist Risk Solutions
I have been asked many times what I view the key issues facing care providers are, and these generally stay the same, Financial Pressures and Staff Recruitment/Retention.
During the past 16 months this obviously changed due to Covid and the increased costs associated with the pandemic, such as the increased costs of PPE, Insurance, Staffing, and the constant changes in guidelines.
Now as we are hopefully coming out of the pandemic and we are beginning to start to open back up as a wider economy the issues have not necessarily changed, the care sector is still under funded, we still have issues with staff recruitment and retention and we are unfortunately in my opinion going to see 3-5 years of the current insurance premium levels, with many providers still facing significant increases.
There is however a new challenge which I believe is much bigger than ever before and that is staff wellbeing.
Throughout the last 16 months I think we can all say that we have struggled at one time, either not being able to see family, or missing the social interactions of a meal out, even football seems to have had issues, but through it all the amazing caring staff across Health & Social Care have been rocks, supporting our vulnerable people, but have we paid attention to the toll it has taken on them?
In summer 2020 a survey suggested that on average care homes had 20% more staff concerned about their mental health, with some homes saying as much as 80% had become concerned.
Confidential Counselling advice lines which are often included in your legal advice and expenses policies have also seen a massive increase in both new callers and repeat calls with people struggling with many issues from deaths of residents through to family financial issues were people have been made redundant.
Like everything there is no quick fix to Staff Wellbeing and reading this you might be thinking what the impact does that have on my business, but in all honesty where would we be without our staff, how much does it cost for an agency member of staff to cover a shift? What is the recruitment cost? Training and development cost? DBS and uniforms? Time and emotional cost?
It could be as simple as a thank you, it does not have to be a monetary thankyou but what if you do nothing? The HSE statistics show that in 2019/2020 38.8M work days were lost due to non-fatal work related injured or ill health, 17.9M days lost for mental health alone. Health & Social care work is the third highest industry for work related health.
If you have put your learning and development, staff wellbeing on hold as a result of the pandemic then I feel this should be something you need to look at sooner rather than later as an insurance broker the potential for claims for staff stress is a major concern and for your point of view not only do you get a highly productivity rate, higher staff retention but you can also stop your premiums going higher through less claims.