Home care workers across Stoke-on-Trent are to be offered extra support and loyalty bonuses, as part of the plans to help retain and recruit staff this winter.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the NHS are working together to address winter pressures and the rising demand for home care and staffing shortages across the care sector.

The NHS has announced funding of £1.05 million to support the recruitment and retention of home care staff in Stoke-on-Trent during the coming months.

Councillor Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “By paying a loyalty bonus to staff employed by independent sector providers this winter, it shows that we very much appreciate the dedication that they have shown in looking after vulnerable people across Stoke-on-Trent. The demand for adult social care in Stoke-on-Trent has risen sharply this year. At the moment, there is a shortage of home care staff in the city and we are working with our NHS partners to both employ and retain care professionals in these roles.”

Councillor Ally Simcock, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Care said: “Whether it be when residents are discharged home after a stay in hospital, or when helping residents to remain living in their homes, home care workers are doing a great job across the city. As well as a recruitment drive, here in Stoke-on-Trent, the city council will be giving the home care agencies more flexibility to set out staff recruitment and retention schemes including potential winter loyalty payments.”

Marcus Warnes Accountable Officer for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The NHS is dependent in so many ways on social care and care workers. Care workers are often the difference between getting a patient back home and keeping them in hospital. And if we have to keep them in hospital because support at home is proving difficult to arrange that bed can’t be used by anyone else and things start to grind to a halt.

“Caring is an important profession and we are happy to be supporting social care providers support their workforce. The NHS are also working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to recruit more people into social care. This involves a number of staff being recruited on NHS terms and conditions and seconded to domiciliary care roles within the city. This is thought that this is a national first.”

As part of the new winter support package home care providers will be able to apply for additional funding for staff retention activities, including bonuses where appropriate.

Other initiatives to support the home care market are ongoing including recruitment campaigns, additional funding for providers, increasing digitisation to improve scheduling, reduce travel time and cut paperwork.

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