Sheffield seeing an ‘unprecedented demand’ for social care services

Sheffield is struggling with an unprecedented demand for social care with services working at full capacity, says a council chief.

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 4:45 pm

Alexis Chappell, director of adult health and social care, has echoed recent warnings that services are struggling with a tough winter ahead.

She told a scrutiny meeting: “In terms of the demand pressures, what we have now is unprecedented.

“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.

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Alexis Chappell, director of adult health and social care at Sheffield Council, says there is an unprecedented demand for social care 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.”

A recent council report revealed patients were being treated in ambulances outside Sheffield hospitals because of a crisis in home care which has caused bed blocking.

Rising hospital admissions are causing a “deteriorating and serious situation” because there’s not enough beds due to severely delayed discharges.

Patients who are ready to leave can’t be discharged because there’s a shortage of home care and the situation will only get worse over winter.

And director of public health Greg Fell is predicting an “exceptionally difficult winter ahead” as an already overworked NHS tries to cope with Covid, flu and other illnesses.

How are services coping with the social care crisis?

Ms Chappell said it was a problem nationwide and the council worked very closely with the NHS, CCG, the independent care sector and voluntary and community groups.

“We’re working really hard to find practical solutions and that includes building capacity across many different sectors.

“Directors across all the trusts and social care work together to respond to the very practical pressures we have in terms of the winter and the current demand that we are all experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

“We have a very good working relationship and part of that is problem solving together, which is key to how we go forward.

“It’s being done very much as a partnership with health colleagues. Ultimately we’re all working towards the same goal, which is to get the very best outcome for people.”