Social care crisis: Sheffield Council’s spend on home care more than doubled in five years

Sheffield Council said it estimates its spend on home care has more than doubled in the past five years as it faces unprecedented social care demand.
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The council arranges more than 42,000 hours of home care and reablement to around 3,000 people in Sheffield every week.

A report published for a education, health and care transitional committee meeting this week revealed the pressures facing the service.

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It said year-on-year comparison showed that increasing demand due to larger care packages has led to increasing costs to the council.

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In the 2017/18 financial year, the council spent £20 million on home care and this has gradually increased to £41.5 million this financial year.

How are home care services coping in Sheffield?

A report by Healthwatch Sheffield in January 2019 showed home care did not always meet expectations.

It found key concerns including: late, missed and inappropriate timing of care visits; rushed care visits; lack of continuity; care plans not being followed or reviewed regularly; a lack of opportunities for family carers to give feedback; and difficulty making complaints.

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The perception was that there is a lack of training, supervision and monitoring of home care workers and no experience or qualifications are needed for the job.

Another report published in August this year highlighted that not enough time is taken to understand the cultural needs of individuals, workers are closing cases when care ‘breaks down’ instead of exploring why and there is a lack of diversity in the workforce.

How has the social care crisis affected Sheffield?

Sheffield Council officers warned that the city is struggling with an unprecedented demand for social care with services working at full capacity ahead of a tough winter.

Alexis Chappell, director of adult health and social care at the council, recently said: “I’ve worked in social care for a long time and I have never seen anything like this, it really is a high demand across all services.

“We are currently providing the maximum level of support and that’s actually not enough to deal with the demand that we are facing currently, within all parts of social care, not just hospitals.”