A National Care Force has been set up to help social care providers fill staff gaps with health workers and volunteers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The free online platform, powered by health technology firm Florence, works by allowing volunteers to book shifts available across the social care sector. Shifts are posted directly by the care providers who have joined.
The National Care Force has been launched in response to vital staff shortages expected to occur due to coronavirus. With up to 80% of the UK population projected to be infected by May 2021, extra users and staffing gaps caused by the illness will add even more strain to care services already stretched before the outbreak.
National Care Forum (NCF), and Care England have endorsed the use of the National Care Force to help support social care through the challenges of coronavirus.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the NCF
“National Care Force has come on line at just the right moment! People around the country will be wondering how they can help those most in need – and this platform will connect up those who can with those who need care and support.
“Our members absolutely know the essential role that volunteers play in the provision of great care, and we really welcome this initiative to super charge this effort at this time of need.”
How it works
Social care providers, healthcare workers and volunteers across the UK are able to register to use the platform now.
After going through compliance checks (including qualifications and criminal record), users update their profile with skills and experience. Care providers follow a similar process, adding details about their care setting and skills required. The platform’s algorithm will match relevant positions to users.
Users apply for preferred positions, and the care provider will select a candidate. Everything is managed for free through the platform, which also stores reminders of upcoming shifts, and allows for cancellations.
Who can join and what will they do?
Care professionals who can join include doctors, nurses, care workers, support workers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They can apply for shifts covering clinical staff rota gaps in a variety of care settings.
Anyone can join as a volunteer, regardless of work background. They can apply for non-clinical work such as picking up shopping for those self-isolating, or providing in-home care such as cleaning and laundry.
Social care providers who can join include care homes, home care services and local authorities. They will be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The National Care Force was developed by Florence founders Dr. Charles Armitage and Dan Blake, a former NHS doctor and British Army officer.
Florence is an online staffing platform that runs on the same technology as the National Care Force.
Launched in 2017 with one care home in west London, Florence now fills rota gaps for 4000 care homes across the UK, with over 50,000 nurses and carers signed up.
Charles said of launching the National Care Force: “There is a desperate desire across the country for people to be able to do something to help but people don’t know how to channel their efforts.
“The National Care Force is a movement that will significantly impact the national effort against COVID-19 and allow everyone to play their part.
“As a company, we have vast experience in using technology to mobilise massive, flexible workforces. The whole Florence team is working nonstop to deliver this solution.”
Dan added “There are very few “drop everything” moments in life and this is one of them.
“We are facing unprecedented challenges across our entire Health and Social Care system. I want to make sure we each do all we can to help to protect and help the most vulnerable in our society.”