The area manager of a Swindon care home and six others has warned of a crisis in the industry that urgently needs to be addressed.

Karen Stephens from Methodist Homes - which runs Fitzwarren House - wrote to the Adver to raise concerns about the lack of attention being given to significant problems with properly staffing and funding social care post-Covid.

She said: "There are currently around 152,000 vacancies in the social care sector.

"Yet, as we approach a General Election, social care still isn’t being given the attention it deserves.

"As the area manager of seven care homes in the southwest, I have seen firsthand the impact that insufficient funding, spiralling operational costs and the aftermath of the pandemic has had on social care.

"Our frontline workers have been undervalued and under-appreciated by the major political parties for too long. This needs to change.

"There is a nearly £3 billion funding gap between what's available from central government to local authorities and what the actual cost of care is.

"This has left the care sector in crisis.

"We have three clear asks as part of our quest to fix social care and would urge everyone in the community to help us highlight the importance of social care and what we feel needs to be done.

"They are: sustainable and long-term funding, fully funded and fair pay to better value care professionals, and a unified voice for the care profession through a new Social Care Council.

"To find out more about the campaign, visit

"The cost of not finding a sustainable solution for social care can be seen everywhere - in longer NHS waiting lists and local councils being pushed towards bankruptcy and having to cut services radically.

"It also means that there is a high turnover of undervalued professionals who often do not get the training that they need.

"Most importantly of all, it means that older people in the southwest are not getting the choice and quality of care that they deserve.

"This cannot go on."