Thursday, 26 May 2022

Care staff crisis in UK leaves 500,000 waiting for help

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Yet last year the number was around 294,000 – indicating a massive rise. As many as two million hours of home care could not be delivered in the first quarter of this year due to lack of capacity. This signals an urgent need for more government cash, say social care bosses.

There were 506,131 people waiting for an assessment, care, direct payment or review in February 2022.

And the lack of help with washing, dressing and eating is having a “devastating impact”, said the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass).

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: “Older and disabled people’s lives are being diminished by lack of essential support. It highlights how desperate things are because of shortages of money and staff.”

A lack of workers is being exacerbated by low pay.

Jackie O’Sullivan, of the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “Social care is not fixed as the Prime Minister once promised, that is painfully obvious.We need to see longer-term funding targeted at supporting decent pay rises.”

As much as £5.4billion in extra money has been given to social care over the next three years.

But there is not enough cash dedicated to meet immediate needs, according to Adass which surveyed English councils.

The bulk – £3.6billion – will go on introducing a cap on care costs and extending state-funded support by making the existing means-tested system more generous.

The Department of Health and Social Care said its reforms would ensure “people have the choice, control and support they need”.

”I have to go to bed at 8pm”

Struggling David Smith, 87, goes to bed at 8.15 each evening – the latest time his carers can help him.

He wakes at 4am but must lie there until 7am when another carer arrives to get him up.

The ex-British Railways worker is almost paralysed with a rare neurological condition. He cannot stand or use his hands properly.

He relies completely on the visits from carers in the Midlands to help him eat, dress and deal with personal needs.

But he says his 30-minute visits at lunch and teatime are not enough to feed him and cope with his needs.

Mr Smith, a father of two and grandfather of four, is struggling amid the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “I already pay a contribution of around £70 privately…I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to do that for, but I can’t have less care.”

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