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Carer recruitment drive hailed amid acute staff shortage

By Alan Beresford

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THE drive to recruit vital care staff in Buckie and across Moray has been given a boost after three informal successful recruitment sessions were held.

Andy Riach, Care at Home officer, and Heike Bain, social care assistant at the Buckie recruitment session.
Picture: Health and Social Care Moray.
Andy Riach, Care at Home officer, and Heike Bain, social care assistant at the Buckie recruitment session. Picture: Health and Social Care Moray.

Buckie’s Fishermen’s Hall was joined by venues in Keith and Rothes in hosting the drop-ins, all of which aimed to attract new faces to the role of social care assistants, whose work allows older people to live independently in their own homes for longer and maintain their quality.

The care industry in Moray is currently suffering an acute shortage of care staff, both in the public and private sectors as demand rises remorselessly.

Around a dozen hopefuls made their way to the Buckie Care at Home session to find out more about the rewarding roles on offer.

Donna Wilson, Assistant Manager of the Care at Home Service at Moray Council, was pleased with the interest shown in joining the local team to support and care for people at home in their community.

“We had very positive conversations with people not only in Buckie but also at the sessions which followed in Rothes and Keith. We hope the keen interest shown will result in applications coming forward,” she said.

“Our flexible contracts range from 6.5 to 32.5 hours a week and we also offer relief contracts. Lack of experience is no barrier to applying as we provide full training. More important to us are people’s qualities and values.

"We seek to employ caring individuals who want to join the caring profession which is a demanding but ultimately very rewarding and worthwhile career.”

Demand for care at home has been increasing, mainly due to the growing number of older people living at home with long-term conditions. This in turn presents an ever-rising challenge in terms of recruiting sufficient staff to meet those needs.

At present, around 4500 hours of care at home are delivered to individuals in their homes each week in Moray.

The Care at Home Service is working to address the shortage through recruitment fairs and career fairs that give an opportunity to bust some of the myths and perceptions around the role of the social care assistant.

Anyone who missed the recruitment event can still contact the Care at Home Service on (01343) 563927 or (01343) 563829 to find out more about the opportunities available. Posts are advertised regularly on the My Job Scotland recruitment portal.

The need for more carers is a fact not lost on local councillors Sonya Warren, Tim Eagle and Gordon Cowie.

Councillor Warren said: "Home carers do a wonderful job and we literally cannot do without them.

"We do have an ongoing shortage of staff which is having a knock-on effect on those who are currently in post as well as the many people who rely on the care they provide.

"Every effort is being made to recruit more staff and I would strongly encourage anyone who thinks that this rewarding career could be for them to get in touch with the Health and Social Care team."

Councillor Eagle, who serves on the Moray Integrated Joint Board (MIJB), which has responsibility for adult health and social care in the region, said that the staff shortages were having a "big impact" on those needing care and that there were many reasons for the recruitment gap, not least too many demands being placed on carers.

"Sadly, over the last year, Moray has had huge challenges recruiting care staff and this has led to many people, desperate to get home from hospitals or care homes, unable to do so," he continued.

"It has also put pressures on the many hard-working, dedicated staff we already have.

"I am worried that one of those reasons is we do not listen enough to the concerns of staff currently doing the job.

"Working as care staff in the communities, in care homes or with housing support is a great opportunity but I believe it is important we make sure we are providing a safe and enjoyable experience for our staff. We should not place demands on them which cannot be met and should ensure they have the time to truly do what they enjoy – being with those they care for."

Councillor Cowie added: " It's a great opportunity for people that have a interest in this field or to get involved in a new career Moray.

"Like all areas of Scotland we need to recruit more carers and after speaking to some of the careers it is a very rewarding job."

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