Top 6 priorities:

  1. Workforce shortages creating understaffing concerns: The UK care sector is experiencing acute shortages, with attendant safety concerns for existing staff and residents
  2. Mental health and work-related illness: Care workers across the UK are facing mental health challenges linked to work-related stress and pandemic impacts
  3. 16+ care provision shortages threaten the safety of vulnerable young people: Regulatory changes may see a decrease in care facilities for 16+ year-olds
  4. Cyber-safety fears increase: Rising cyberattacks expose vulnerabilities in the UK’s care sector, with limited tech expertise and staff-related data breaches cited as major reasons
  5. Cost-of-living concerns leading to an increase in worker's compensation claims: As the cost-of-living soars, so do worker's compensation claims; care facilities must ensure safety concerns are recognised and mitigated
  6. Emphasis on prevention of infectious diseases: The Post-pandemic focus is on infection control in care environments
  1. Care Sector Health & Safety: A Closer Look at the Top 6 Priorities
    Workforce shortage creating understaffing concerns: The care sector in the UK is facing an unprecedented workforce crisis, leading to safety and care concerns in the workplace due to understaffing. England alone will need close to 500,000 more care staff by the middle of the next decade. In 2022, there was a net fall in the care workforce of 50,000 people, leaving about 165,000 jobs vacant, according to figures from Skills for Care1. Addressing this challenge is a top priority and is projected to worsen.

  2. Mental health and work-related illness: Mental health is of increasing concern in the UK care sector, with work-related stress, depression, and anxiety on the rise. The State of Caring 2023 report reveals that 79% of carers are experiencing heightened stress or anxiety, 54% are grappling with compromised physical health, and 22% attribute injuries to their caregiving responsibilities2. Addressing mental health and work-related sickness in the care sector workplace is a top priority. It is linked to employee experience and retention and is particularly pertinent, with labour shortages of real concern in the care sector.

  3. 16+ care provision shortages threaten the safety of vulnerable young people: The regulations for 16+ provision, to be enforced by April 2024 under Ofsted, are set to stir a significant transformation in supported living facilities. Given the more favourable funding structure, financially strained facilities may be compelled to convert their services to childcare homes. Consequently, young people aged 16 and above will no longer be eligible for childcare homes and could find themselves without adequate care provision. This situation poses a health and safety threat to the young adults affected. With a significantly heightened threat of homelessness and increased susceptibility to criminal activities, ensuring the safety and protection of these vulnerable young people must be considered a top priority.

  4. Cyber-safety fears increase: Rising cyberattacks in the UK's care sector underscore its vulnerability due to the amount of data held and the duration it must be held for. Moreover, staff-related data breach risks, including physical theft incidents, are of high concern. Although the data does not hold financial value, the breadth and personal nature of the data are concerning, and fines for data breaches are significant. Managing risks and providing organisations with knowledge and comprehensive cyber insurance protection coverage is a crucial safety measure.

  5. Cost-of-living concerns leading to an increase in worker's compensation claims: According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the consumer prices index (CPI) rose by 10.4% in the 12 months to February 2023, up from 10.1% in January3. An average care worker in the UK earns less than 80% of the wider workforce4. During the cost-of-living crisis, care facilities are increasingly witnessing an acceleration in the number and value of claims made, with life-changing injury claims that can potentially cost care organisations millions. Care providers must provide at least GBP10 million in insurance coverage rather than following the minimum Ofsted requirement of GBP5 million.

  6. Emphasis on preventing infectious diseases: From a health and safety perspective, safeguarding vulnerable individuals in care environments from infections is a primary focus. The experience of COVID-19, particularly in the care sector, has heightened the need for designing new strategies for infection prevention. Optimising vaccine access and reducing preventable diseases through responsible and documented use of infection control are crucial goals.

Awareness is key to minimising overall health, safety, and risk concerns

Risk management in care sector involves systems and processes that find, assess, reduce, and stop risks. This keeps patients safe and protects the facility’s assets, reputation, and community trust.

  • Training and education: Employee safety is as crucial as patient safety, with staff typically covered by workers' compensation. In less-controlled work environments, like home care, mitigating risks for remote employees is challenging. Comprehensive training is crucial for risk identification and assessment, emphasising safety procedures, regulatory compliance, and PPE usage.
  • Risk identification and assessment: Recognising and evaluating potential risks that could affect the health and safety of staff, patients, and residents are fundamental. These encompass an understanding of operational, clinical, and patient safety; financial, legal and, regulatory; technological; and environmental- and infrastructure-based hazards.
  • Monitoring and reviewing: Regular assessment of the health and safety framework and standards and continuous consideration of the effectiveness of implemented risk management strategies ensures ongoing improvement and adaptation to changing circumstances and regulations.

Looking ahead: technology leading the way to safer virtual care

AI is poised to change how health data is recorded in care environments significantly. Analysis of patient data will enable the identification of patterns and tailored interventions for conditions like depression, anxiety, and dementia5.

  • AI in care homes: AI is set to transform care homes where medical provision is given, by streamlining documentation personalising routines, and fostering family engagement, ultimately improving the quality of care.
  • Wearable medical devices: Devices like CarePredict monitor elderly and medically vulnerable individuals and detect irregular patterns and health changes, offering ongoing health security for those with chronic medical conditions.


1 The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England. Skills for care 2022.

2 State of Caring 2023: The impact of caring on: health. Carers UK (November 2023).

3 Consumer price inflation, UK: September 2023. Office of national statistics (18 October 2023).

4 Samuel, Mithran. Average care worker earns less than over 80% of wider workforce. CommunityCare (11 October 2022).

5 Klein, Josh. The Coming AI Revolution In Home Care. Forbes (02 June 2023).



Gallagher – Insurance and risk management specialists for the UK care sector
As a longstanding partner of UK care service providers, we understand that your business has a specific set of needs and compliance obligations. Through a mix of tailored risk management advice and the benefit of practical experience, we can help you to provide a safer environment for your team and residents to reduce the risk of a claim occurring. Working together with care sector business owners and managers, we conduct a thorough review of your current insurance arrangements, highlighting gaps in cover and responding to ensure risk recommendations are understood.

With specialist expertise covering residential care and support for children, the elderly, and mental health and learning disabilities through to fostering and adoption agencies and domiciliary care, we’re happy to arrange a time to discuss your insurance and risk management arrangements.

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.