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Care Homes Are Desperately Short Of Staff

Care Homes

Care homes are desperately short of staff – why no emergency UK visas for them?

As the government hastily arranges visas for truck drivers, its lack of regard for the care sector crisis is clear

Despite all the panic in government and at the petrol station forecourt, there is another urgent question: what about the care homes? The government is hastily attempting to give three-month visas to 5,000 foreign truck drivers to “save Christmas”. It is also allowing 5,000 visas for farm workers to gather in the winter harvest. But, in the face of widespread personnel shortages, the care home sector is to get no relief at all.

There are already 100,000 staff vacancies in the care homes sector, yet all the health ministry can say is that there will “always be enough staff with the right skills to deliver high quality care”. This is state-sponsored employment chaos.

The truck drivers’ visas are simply a cynical U-turn from ministers who promised to “stop immigration” and now find that some immigrants are more important than others. (Whether EU drivers will return to the UK so swiftly is another question altogether.) Labour markets are complex. Britain’s is being regulated by Whitehall officials with Leninist fantasies about the supply and demand for particular jobs, doling out visas on the basis of politics, not economics. Why truck drivers not carers? We can guess.

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it was clear that the government favoured the NHS over care homes (which it was less directly responsible for). An appalling price was paid as elderly people were allowed to go from the former to the latter, without any Covid testing, and died in their thousands. While care homes languished, desperate for money and help at the height of the pandemic, the government built the NHS seven Nightingale “field hospitals” at cost of £530m, only for them to be left sitting empty.

Now ministers are penalising social care even further. Care homes in England fear they will have to sack any staff not vaccinated against Covid by the early November deadline. NHS staff are excused, even in Covid wards. Although 93 per cent of care staff have been vaccinated, a hardcore still refuse, for reasons varying from pregnancy to cultural aversion.

The sackings would be catastrophic. While it is the young, not the old, who are now primarily at pandemic risk, the blanket ban is likely to mean that thousands of care staff – possibly as many as 70,000 – will have to be dismissed. Many will reportedly transfer to the NHS, in what looks suspiciously like a straightforward poaching. According to the Times, “sixteen local authorities could lose more than a tenth of their [care] staff”.

The government tells care employers to pay their workers higher wages to attract them within the UK. But this is a service industry that has spent decades relying on overseas carers. Brexit has already stifled the flow of workers from the EU, and there is no Treasury money to speedily replace them with more expensive, home-based staff.

The fault does not lie with Brexit as such, given the various ways the UK’s exit from the EU could have been negotiated: it lies with Boris Johnson’s personal decision at the same time to leave Europe’s single labour market. He has cut Britain off from decades of access to that sophisticated market, without so much as an inquiry into the cost. Other European nations can recruit from across the continent to relieve the strains of Covid. Britain has withdrawn behind a protectionist barrier. The Tory party under Margaret Thatcher used to believe in open markets. All we know of the present one is that it does not believe in carers.

Simon Jenkins is a columnist

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Health

F.G Approves Establishment Of Teaching Hospital In Taraba

The establishment of a Federal teaching hospital in Taraba State has been approved by the Federal Government.

Approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, the teaching hospital is to be sited at the federal university in Wukari Local Government Area of the State.

In a letter dated 26th of September 2022, the President gave the nod to the leadership of the institution to go ahead with the establishment of the health institution.

The letter which was signed on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, by the Director of Health, Teaching Hospital Division, Dr. Noah Andrew, urged the leadership of the university to make sure that all the needed facilities are in place.

“I am directed to refer to a letter dated 2nd September 2022 referenced SGF 6/T/380 from the Secretary of the Government of the Federation to inform you that His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, has graciously approved the establishment of a federal teaching hospital for the federal University, Wukari, Taraba State”, the letter read in part.

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Kaduna Enrolls 136,507 Into Health Scheme

The Kaduna state government has disclosed that it has enrolled about 136,507 poor and vulnerable population into the Kaduna State health insurance scheme.

Head of Administration and Finance, Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Authority (KADCHMA), Mr Suleiman Mustapha, disclosed this in Kaduna, during a one-day Roundtable Dialogue on maternal and child health.

The Maternal and Child Health-Civil Society (MCH-CS) Partnership with support from Save the Children International organised the round table.

Mustapha said 79,329 poor and vulnerable populations were enroled for free basic health under the one per cent consolidated revenue of the state government.

According to him, the state government had so far released N1.1 billion to cover the basic health care services of the poor and vulnerable.

He also said an additional 50,648 poor and vulnerable population were enroled under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, adding that a total of N1.1 billion had also been contributed to cover their healthcare.

KADCHMA Executive Secretary , Mr Abubakar Hassan, said the agency was established in February 2018 and began provision of health services in June 2020.

According to him, the health scheme is part of the state’s human capital development and social protection strategy for all residents.

 

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55,000 Die Of Rabies Annually In Nigeria- USAID

The United States Agency For International Development USAID has disclosed that at least 55, 000 Nigerians die of rabies every year.

It said rabid dogs account for about 94 percent of confirmed human infections.

This was revealed by Mieko Mckay, Deputy Office Director for Health, USAID Nigeria, in Abuja on Monday during the launch of the National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Dog-Mediated Human Rabies in Nigeria.

The event was organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Federal of Health and Breakthrough ACTION -Nigeria and other partners ahead of this year’s World Rabies Day.

Country Representative, World Health Organisation, Walter Mulombo, represented by his deputy, Alexander Chimbaru, said there were recent cases in Gombe and Enugu States.

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