National care crisis hitting Torfaen

Posted on: Friday 17 December 2021

Today (Friday 17 December), Torfaen council is writing to everyone in the borough receiving domiciliary care services and appealed for support to help fill a shortfall in care required this month.

The council commissions around 8,500 hours of domiciliary care for residents every week, but during this busy period it requires an additional 1,000 hours per week.

As a result of higher than average vacancy rates, sickness absence, and isolation due to Covid-19, this additional capacity cannot be met. This will result in changes to some resident’s personal care arrangements and the need for some people to wait for support.

The Leader of Torfaen Council, Cllr Anthony Hunt said: ‘We cannot absorb anymore. There is a systemic national crisis in care which has been simmering for years. A bad situation is being made worse by the pandemic which is presenting unprecedented challenges and continues to test everyone in the health and social care sector to the limits.

‘I must commend our own care staff, local care providers and our commissioning team who have spent months pulling rabbits out of hats to fulfil care packages, but  for the first time this month the numbers simply don’t crunch. We are being advised there are not enough carers to deliver an additional 1000 hours of care required by residents and they are likely to go unfulfilled.’

Torfaen’s Head of Adult Services, Gill Pratlett, said: ‘Local and national care providers are losing large numbers of staff due sickness and people leaving the care profession for jobs in other sectors such as retail and hospitality which are paying inflated wages in the run up to Christmas.

‘All options are being explored to make up the shortfall this month and to provide greater stability in the market long term. Across the system care packages are being reassessed for what’s essential, rotas redrawn and clients with the greatest needs prioritised. We are also actively recruiting carers, and are looking at some short term incentives for redeploying staff from other council teams to quickly retrain to fulfil basic care duties.  

‘We desperately need a frank discussion with government and residents about how we care for people in the community and we must ensure care packages are the right size to meet people’s needs.’

Torfaen’s Executive Member for Adult Services, Cllr David Daniels, said: ‘Given these incredibly challenging times, emphasis will need to be on ensuring that every individual care package provides the exact level of care needed by our residents. In doing so, we hope to be able to provide more support to more residents in need of care. 

I would like to thank our residents, their friends and family for all their tremendous efforts to date. Our staff will be working hard to make sure everyone feels supported, but we are asking for your continued understanding and help as we navigate through these difficult circumstances. 

We are working hard with everyone within the system, including local hospitals, to do our best for our residents, and will be doing everything we can to address the challenges we're facing in adult social care.'

In order to minimise potential disruptions to care arrangements, the following help and support is being requested.

  • If being discharged from hospital, please accept the care call times offered and reduced hours so discharge can go ahead
  • If carers arrive at different times or request to change call times, please understand that carers are under currently under huge pressure
  • If your regular care team is unable to provide care, please be flexible and support the change in personnel
  • If family members or your support network can support care, please let the council know and discuss with support networks plans should care support being unavailable in the short term.
  • Spare equipment to help bathing, using the toilet and to help people move around their homes is in short supply. If equipment in no longer in use please return the items so that they can be cleaned and redistributed to other people.
  • If you know anyone interested in becoming carers or support workers, please contact us on 01495 766371.
Last Modified: 17/12/2021 Back to top