Staff joining social care to have fees waived

SSSC registration and PVG checks to be funded

By Lucy Ashton

New staff joining the social care workforce are to have entry costs paid by the Scottish Government until the end of March.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration will now be funded to help encourage more staff into the profession and address winter staffing pressures.

The scheme starts today and will include staff taking up direct care posts in adult social care, along with comparable roles in children’s social care services and the justice sector.

It has been introduced following discussions with COSLA and will cover local authority, private and third sectors.

Social care minister Kevin Stewart, pictured right,  said: “Care workers have been absolutely critical to our pandemic response, giving vulnerable people the care they need and avoiding further pressure falling on the NHS.

“This trial aims to assist easing winter pressures in this sector by removing any financial barriers that may stop people from applying for a rewarding career in care.

“There are  significant pressures in social care due to high vacancy levels and increased demand. I hope this support will encourage those considering joining this vital workforce to go ahead and do so.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to identify all possible ways we can assist the social care sector to aid recruitment and retention within the workforce at this critical time.”

Basic PVG checks cost £59.  SSSC registration costs between £25 and £80 depending on the role. The estimated cost of the scheme is £465,000.  Eligible Justice roles will only have PVG costs covered, as these are not regulated by the SSSC.  Eligible applicants who register with SSSC will be identified when registering for eligible roles and will have no fee to pay. Eligible applicants applying for PVG  will have to use the prefix FSC when prompted during their application.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton, pictured left,  has  called for on the Scottish Government to speed up care packages after newly published figures showed that at the November 2021 census point, there were 1,500 people delayed leaving hospital and that 46,894 days were spent in hospital as a result of delayed discharge.  This is an increase of 40% compared to November 2020, when 33,463 days were lost.

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:  “We know keeping people trapped in hospital unnecessarily causes disruption and distress to both patients and their families.

“These delays cost the NHS eye-watering sums of money and in most cases it is an entirely avoidable problem. The majority of delayed discharges in November were due to waiting on a care home place, social care support to enable them to live in their own home or for an assessment to be conducted. That is not acceptable. The SNP must act now.

“It has been a full five years since the SNP’s target to end delayed discharges was missed, yet ministers haven’t managed to make a dent in the problem. It is time to boost social care pay and conditions to open up the options for moving people out of hospital and into more suitable care as soon as they are ready.”

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