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Sturdy: care reform will be driven by an empowered workforce

The £500m earmarked by the government to support the care workforce will be focused on “levelling up the knowledge, skills and experience” of workers across the sector, according to chief nurse for adult social care in England Deborah Sturdy.

The reforms set out in the Department of Health and Social Care’s 'People at the Heart of Care' white paper include a new knowledge and skills framework (KSF), career pathways and linked investment in learning and development to support progression for care workers and registered managers (RMs).

Sturdy (pictured) said establishing the KSF and promoting varied careers pathways would “provide the professional progression our registered workforce, including RMs, need and deserve”.

“RMs are arguably the backbone of the social care system and undoubtedly proved their worth during the pandemic,” she added.

“The more we can do to support them with the best training and workplace resources, especially during their first year in post, the more they can do for the teams they lead. In this respect, they are critical to mobilising and leading the reform agenda in the workforce.”

The reforms also include Continuous Professional Development (CPD) budgets for registered nurses, nursing associates, occupational therapists, and other allied health professionals.

In addition, there will be funding for Care Certificates, alongside significant work to create a delivery standard recognised across the sector.

“Care Certificates will create a new delivery standard recognised across the sector, which will facilitate more rewarding career paths for all colleagues and make sure there is a knowledge baseline for every care role,” said Sturdy.

“The new delivery standards will also mean these certificates are portable, allowing new and existing staff to move roles with greater ease without the need to repeat training,” she added.

“These changes will mean care certificates will form part of a robust induction programme for those new to social care and offer a clear demonstration they have the skills needed to deliver great care.”

There will also be investment in social worker training routes, initiatives to provide wellbeing and mental health support and to improve access to occupational health.

In addition, there will be a new digital hub for the workforce to access support, information and advice, and a portable record of learning and development.

Meanwhile, there will be new policies to identify and support best recruitment practices locally and exploration of new national and local policies to ensure consistent implementation of the above, as well as higher standards of employment and care provided.

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