Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Shortage of personal assistants for disabled people could force people back to care homes

The severe shortage of personal assistants (PAs) for disabled people has been highlighted by Baroness Jane Campbell, a disabled member of the House of Lords, who said independence is a civil right.

In a recent podcast for the BBC, she said that she has been struggling to recruits PAs to help with her care and day-to day living, and fears the shortage will force people currently living independently back into care settings.

A PA is someone employed by the family or disabled person to help with tasks for everyday living. Over 70,000 people use them in the UK but there is a severe shortage due to the workforce crisis in the care sector.

Baroness Campbell, who has the muscle wasting condition spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), said that Brexit has had an impact on the number of available workers due to PAs not currently being recognised as “skilled workers”.

She added: We need workers from Europe to be able to return to this country to make up the shortage of personal assistants.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said it has plans to “bolster recruitment and retention” of personal assistants and had set aside £500 million to “develop the existing workforce”, according to the BBC report.

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