It is estimated that there are more than 70,000 people in Lincolnshire providing unpaid care for a friend or family member. Many of those carers also work within the health and care system, in fact 1 in 3 members of NHS staff are also unpaid carers.
These members of staff often struggle to balance their caring responsibilities with their work commitments. It’s vitally important that we support these members of staff for a number of reasons:
- To ensure we keep experienced staff within our workforce – the peak age for caring is between 50 and 64 therefore carers are likely to be among our most skilful and experienced employees.
- To reduce staff turnover and the high cost of recruiting replacement staff. Carers UK have found that too many employers in both the private and public sectors believe that caring responsibilities are a key but often hidden reason for people leaving work.
- To reduce the knock-on effect of a high staff turnover on patient care.
- To reduce management time spent on dealing with absences.
- To cut sickness absence brought on by the mental and physical impact of juggling demanding caring and work responsibilities. Research indicates that employees who have significant caring responsibilities are much more likely than those without to be in poor health. Carers UK report that “carers working full time and providing 50 hours or more unpaid care per week are 2.4 times (men) and 2.7 times (women) more likely to have ‘not good’ health than those working full-time not providing unpaid care”. Page 3 of 7
- To raise productivity and improve loyalty and job satisfaction by ensuring staff are able to focus on work whilst at work, without constantly worrying about the needs of dependants and how they can be managed.
- To improve people management and staff morale across the organisation – this is likely to be of benefit to the majority of individuals at some time in their working lives, including managers.
To reduce operational costs – introducing flexible working practices for carers has been proven to save employers money with fewer stress-related absences, increased productivity and increased staff retention, as well as taking into account all the lost investment they have made into training and developing of staff members should they then leave due to work pressure.
This data was collected from a recent survey of staff carers across the Lincolnshire Health and Care System and reinforces the need for us to ensure we are doing everything we can to support them:
In the las 6 months 65% of staff carers have had to take annual leave or sickness absence due to their caring responsibilities. 88% of our staff carers report that their own health has been impacted by juggling their caring and work responsibilities.
Although 92% of staff carers had told their line manager about their caring responsibilities only about 20% have been given information or signposting to policies, networks or other organisations that are able to support them.
Our Lincolnshire System Carer's toolkit is designed to help managers and team leaders understand and support staff who are unpaid carers in their team with the aim of enabling them to continue successfully in their roles.