More than 900 adult social care workers quit their jobs each day last year, BBC analysis has shown.
The government said it will invest an extra £2 billion into the sector as Mike Padgham, chair of the UK Homecare Association, warned it was about to ‘collapse’ in a letter to the Prime Minister.
As the population ages, demand for adult social care continues to grow, but a shortage of staff could lead to deteriorating levels and quality of care. Using data from charity Skills for Care, BBC News said 338,520 people left their jobs in adult social care in 2015/16, meaning 928 left each day, with 60% leaving the sector altogether.
BBC News said the industry has a staff turnover rate of 27% - nearly twice the average for other jobs in the UK.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Social care jobs have increased at an average of 3% a year since 2010, but we want to see improvements in turnover rates, with talented staff attracted to a robust sector backed by an additional £2bn over the next three years.
‘Meanwhile, we are investing in the workforce of the future, with a total of 87,800 apprentices starting last year - up 37,300 compared to 2010.’
Possible reasons for the high number of departures include the fact the average frontline care worker earned £7.69 an hour, or £14,800 a year – £12,800 below the national average salary of £27,600. One in four social care workers was on a zero hours contract. A shortage of 84,320 workers meant every one in 20 roles was vacant.
Mr Padgham said in his letter: ‘My biggest fear is that we will soon run out of capacity to provide care to those who cannot fund themselves.
‘I agree wholeheartedly with Age UK’s warning that the social care system will begin to collapse this year, but I would go further and say that the system has already begun to collapse.’
Age UK figures in February showed the social care sector was losing its ability to provide. They said there were 696,500 people in need who did not get any help, with 53,000 struggling with simple taskslike washing, dressing and heating.
The charity concluded there were nearly 1.2 million people who were not getting the care they need right now - a rise of 48% since 2010.
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: ‘Our report makes for frightening reading because it shows just how fragile older people’s social care now is.’