Vacancy rate on domiciliary workers 'worrying', Northern Health Trust board told
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Jacqui Reid, human resources director, said there is also “concern” over the National Living Wage which will come into effect in the UK on April 1.
Jacqui explained: “At the minute, private organisations have already reacted to the National Living Wage. It is a more attractive option to be employed by some of those other places at the minute. People may be feeling a bit demoralised. It is impacting on morale.”
From April 1, workers aged 21 and over will be paid a minimum of £11.44 per hour; 18 to 20-year-olds, £8.60; 16 to 17-year-olds, £6.40 with an apprentice rate of £6.40.
Commenting on vacancies, Jacqui said there are some “quite worrying” figures, particularly in domiciliary care where there is a 35 per cent vacancy rate and social care, 29 per cent.
“This is no surprise given the majority are low band levels. That is a worrying picture.” She noted although there is a regional review of recruitment, there are still “very high” vacancy levels.
Trust board members were also given an update on staff absence. In her ‘Team North’ presentation, Jacqui said the main reasons for absence are stress, post-surgical mobility and grief and bereavement.
She reported a “plateau” has been reached for absence despite a time of year for respiratory illnesses and she said she believes early intervention is “starting to benefit how we are managing attendance”.
“There is a really big focus on trying to retain staff and stabilise our workforce,” continued Jacqui.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter