Adult social care ‘on brink of collapse’ due to Brexit uncertainty

Croydon’s NHS and social care system, already under extreme strain due to underfunding from central government, could be on the brink of complete collapse because staff, many of them EU nationals, face an uncertain future after Brexit.

Rehana Azam: we need well-trained, highly motivated care workers

Rehana Azam: ‘we need well-trained care workers’

The warning is contained in a damning report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, which suggests Britain will need to recruit 1.6million more health and social care workers by 2022, but will no longer be able to rely on a ready source of labour from Europe.

The report’s authors state: “A reliance on migrant labour in the care sector has masked the absence of effective workforce planning strategies, with employers turning to migrant labour to fill posts that may otherwise be difficult to recruit for.”

The IPPR says that around 6 per cent of people employed in social care – approximately 60,000 workers across the country – are European Economic Area migrants. Around 20,000 of these workers have arrived since 2012.

The care sector is under extreme strain because, according to the IPPR, “chronic underinvestment, weak regulation and oversight, and a lack of effective workforce planning and management skills. NHS statistics such as delayed transfers of care are increasingly demonstrating that higher demand for adult social care and pressure on local authority social care budgets is seriously affecting NHS performance, and threatening the financial stability and sustainability of the health and social care systems”.

One of the brakes on recruitment has been the low pay available for care workers – with the government continuing its austerity policy of a public sector pay freeze.

The GMB, the union for public sector workers, has called on the unelected Prime Minister, Theresa May, to pledge the necessary funding to train and recruit care workers urgently.

“Our social care system is already teetering on the brink of collapse – and post-Brexit there is the potential for it to topple over altogether,” said Rehana Azam, the GMB’s national secretary for public services.

“We desperately need well-trained, highly motivated care workers to help take care of our ageing population. If we lose tens of thousands of existing workers after leaving the EU, the situation will become critical.

“Instead of holding hands with Donald Trump and refusing to publish details of her proposed Brexit plan, Theresa May must make a cast-iron pledge to give our social care sector the financial backing it urgently needs – whatever happens after leaving the European union.”

  • Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Adult Social Care, Care Homes, Health and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Adult social care ‘on brink of collapse’ due to Brexit uncertainty

  1. Croydon council will increase spend on social care by over £ 4 million in the new financial year but pressures for spend are about £ 8 million. Last year the Conservatives in Croydon voted against the 2 % national social care levy for Croydon which raises about £ 3.8 million a year.

  2. Lewis White says:

    Britain has been bleeding the world of skilled workers for decades, to the extent where our health service will collapse if the foreign nationals were told to go home. It has also undermined the health services in the countries they come from. Likewise building and catering.

    It’s all a huge mess, and getting messier.
    Presumably the political parties will devise some system of worker passports, but it does not address the fact that tens of thousands of foreign nationals have settled down here, work, learned English, have children and property, and are part of the UK community. Send these people home?. No way– unfair , brutally so. Inhuman. Unjust. Daft. Bonkers. Not cricket, not British.

  3. The reliance upon “migrant” workers in the health sector began in the 90’s, was never addressed in the noughties & is manifesting itself now. The push in 90’s was driven by the desire by managers within the system to suppress wage costs in order to meet budget targets (set for performance management) & the willingness for migrant workers to work at a lower rate than those already living & working here.
    No political party for 40 years can claim they were the best custodians of the nhs, all governments have messed it up either through pfi, gp contracts, social care etc.
    It was under a Labour government where the staff were more bothered about ticking boxes to meet targets than wash their hands, spreading infection & nearly killing my Granny in Mid Staffs.
    Labour sought to encourage a greater diversity of providers through greater competition and choice in the NHS against a backdrop of sustained spending increases and supply side expansion. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 sought a radical acceleration of this process against a backdrop of austerity and fiscal consolidation. Organisational reforms and new approaches to commissioning and decentralization being taken further and faster by the Coalition.
    However the effects of Labour reforms are now being seen, it was Blair that set the path that the coalition & this government are following.

Leave a Reply