Sheffield social care: 'Crisis brewing' as home care emergency impacts hospitals and Council's budget
Social care isn’t sexy. It’s not a conversation starter like Squid Games nor a news grabbing headline like Harry and Meghan.
But there’s a crisis brewing which is going to impact us all, not just elderly and disabled people.
Over the past few weeks, senior council officers have flagged up mounting problems.
The director of adult health and social care says there is an ‘unprecedented demand’ – services are providing the maximum level of support and it’s still not enough.
Social care is draining Sheffield Council’s budget with costs rising at an ‘unsustainable rate’.
Money will only be spent on ‘key priorities’ – so even if you personally don’t need social care, services you do use could be affected.
Home care is in dire straits. The Homecare Association has described a ‘rapidly deteriorating situation nationwide’ with demand outstripping supply.
Home care employees are burnout from working through the pandemic while agencies are struggling to recruit, says the council. Home care providers are under significant strain.
Social crisis impacts Sheffield’s hospitals
The home care emergency has a knock on effect on hospitals.
Patients ready to be discharged are having to stay in hospital because there’s no carers to support them at home.
There’s around 200 patients waiting to be discharged but still in hospital beds. That means there’s no room for incoming patients so people are being treated in ambulances outside hospitals.
The severely delayed discharges are causing a ‘deteriorating and serious situation’ says the council.
The Homecare Association’s chief executive Jane Townson sums it up: “Inadequate capacity in social care risks harm to everyone needing medical help, as it contributes to ambulance queues, cancelled operations, and an increase in hospital waiting times.”
That means younger people are affected too.
People who would normally have been discharged with home care will now have to go into residential care homes, which is upsetting for both them and their families. It may also put pressure on relatives to become carers.
The Government’s £86 billion funding of adult social care has gone to the NHS but the council says it desperately needs direct funding. With Covid, flu and already overstretched services, we’ve a bleak midwinter ahead.