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Hancock comes up empty on ‘no deal Brexit’ social care recruitment plans

The health and social care secretary has failed to produce any evidence that he has put extra plans in place to deal with an adult social care recruitment crisis in the event of a “no deal Brexit”.

Despite the ever-increasing likelihood of Britain crashing out of the European Union in March without a deal, Matt Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has again been unable to point to any plans it has drawn up to deal with the likely recruitment crisis in social care if there is a no deal Brexit in March.

Disabled people who use personal assistants (PAs) have warned repeatedly of the risk that any form of Brexit could mean their access to PAs from EU countries could dry up, with a no-deal Brexit making this even more likely.

Inclusion London said this week that the impact of Brexit on social care recruitment was “potentially disastrous”.

Although Hancock has insisted that he is planning for the possibility of a no deal Brexit’s impact on the NHS, he and his department have been unable to point to any contingency plans on social care recruitment, other than measures that will be “going ahead regardless” of the Brexit outcome.

These include a national recruitment campaign in the new year to “raise the image and profile” of the adult social care sector, following pilot schemes launched last month in Gloucestershire and Tyne and Wear, while an adult social care green paper – postponed yet again this week (see separate story) – will “look at how we can recruit and retain a valued workforce”.

DHSC has also pointed to the government’s EU settlement scheme, which will provide the 104,000 EU nationals currently working in social care with the opportunity to continue living in the UK after June 2021.

A DHSC spokesman said: “We are confident of reaching a deal with the EU which benefits our health and care workforce.

“We want to promote adult social care as a career of choice and are launching a national recruitment campaign in the new year to raise the image and profile of the sector.

“Our upcoming green paper will also look at how we can recruit and retain a valued workforce.”

But asked what extra plans DHSC had in place in the event of a no deal Brexit, he refused to comment further.

Bott said it was important that the “messaging” of the recruitment campaign was right. 

She said: “Yes we need more people working in social care but we need people with the right values who respect the right of disabled people to determine our own lives.”

And she said she was still concerned that the EU settlement scheme “will not be known about by disabled people or employers of personal assistants, particularly as DHSC has decided to target social care providers with the information.”

She said she had raised this with the Home Office and was due to attend a meeting with that government department.

News provided by John Pring at

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