A 2021 estimate by Social Care Wales put the number of social care positions vacant in Wales at 5,581, representing around 6.1 per cent of the total workforce.
These chronic staff shortages are leading to patients being stuck in hospitals waiting for social care, taking up much-needed beds and contributing to record-breaking waits in A&E and dangerous ambulance delays.
Under Liberal Democrat plans, £56 million would be provided to Wales to contribute to higher social care salaries.
The Welsh Government announced the minimum wage for social care staff would rise to £9.90 per hour in December 2021 at an estimated cost of £43 million. A further uplift to £10.90 an hour is expected by June this year at a cost of £70 million.
Under Liberal Democrat plans Wales would receive an £56 million to spend on social care salaries via the Barnett Formula funded by raising remote gaming duty from 21% to 42%.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“Ambulance delays in Wales are continuously at record highs and are causing real harm every week.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have consistently been at the forefront of reminding the Government that if we want the crisis in A&E to be solved, we need to solve the crisis in social care and free up hospital beds by moving medically-fit patients into social care.
“Too many people are stranded in hospital beds because there simply aren’t enough care workers to look after them at home or in a care home.
“The social care crisis is having a devastating impact on vulnerable people’s wellbeing and piling pressure on our already-stretched hospitals and GP surgeries.
“The first step to fixing this mess is to pay those working in social care more, to prevent the exodus of workers to supermarkets and other better-paid jobs. I have seen first-hand the incredible job that care workers do day in and day out. This is a skilled and crucial job and it should be paid more.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The last available estimate of social care vacancies across Wales estimated approximately 5,581 vacancies across Wales. Social Care Wales – Social Care Workforce Report 2021, Page 14.
2. Remote Gaming Duty is currently levied at 21%. According to the latest HMRC figures, it raised £970 million in 2021-22. Increasing it to 42% would therefore raise an additional £970m, assuming no behavioural change. Using the Barnet formula Wales would receive £56 million.
3. Previous research by the Senedd has estimated cost to Welsh public services from problem gambling is between £40 and £70 million per year.