HC Deb 12 February 2004 vol 417 cc1683-4W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England are employed as care workers; and how many vacancies there are for care workers. [153915]

Dr. Ladyman

[holding answer 11 February2004]The number of vacancies for care staff in England is not available centrally.

The estimated whole-time equivalent number of care staff employed by local authorities' social services departments in England as at 30 September 2002 (the latest date for which data are available) was 78,230. This excludes field social workers, central strategic and other administrative and support staff. The number of care staff employed in the private and voluntary sectors is not available centrally.

For too long the work of social care workers in our community has been undervalued and under-rated making recruitment difficult. The Department of Health is determined to give all the assistance it can to tackle this problem. As part of our ongoing action in this area a new National Social Care Recruitment Campaign was launched on 2 February 2004. The purpose of the campaign is to recruit more people to the social care workforce, with a particular emphasis on attracting more people to work with older people. The five week campaign will appear on television and milk cartons and in a range of press titles.

We have been meeting with local authorities and communicating with independent sector employers to maximise the impact of this campaign, so that they can use the interest generated by the campaign to promote and advertise their own social care vacancies to coincide with the campaign period.

The main objective of our social care worker recruitment campaign is to show the depth and variety of work in which social care workers are involved and the many benefits they bring to so many people's lives. The campaign was produced following extensive research with potential and existing social care workers and dialogue with stakeholders.