Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Swansea care pressures finally start to ease after Covid disruption

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

The challenges facing domiciliary care in Swansea have finally begun to subside to pre-Covid pandemic levels, the director of social services said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

David Howes said staff sickness levels were lower now than during the past three years, but he warned that adult social care still had a couple of tough years ahead because the NHS in Wales hadn’t recovered. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We are not of the woods yet,” he told a council scrutiny panel. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

However, Mr Howes said the days of waiting lists for people in need of care, which is delivered or arranged by councils, being 300% higher than normal were not being experienced. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I am really pleased that finally we are seeing services recover to something like what we would expect ordinarily, albeit with a changed nature of demand,” he said. “At least the numbers are back to where we would expect them.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But he said the improving picture was not being shared by the NHS in Wales, and that this had a direct impact on adult social care given the close links between and interconnectedness of the two services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Howes also said that a shortage of registered social workers was a “significant issue”, particularly in child protection. There was also an issue finding enough places in settings for children who couldn’t live at home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“There are definitely capacity issues that are going to be very dramatic for the individual (child) impacted but the numbers are much smaller,” he said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report before the panel about complaints said the council as a whole received 1,274 “stage one” complaints in 2021-22 compared to 1,171 the previous year, and 154 “stage two” complaints compared to 129 the year before. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The highest proportion of complaints – 345 – were about litter, waste and parks, but the figure was a lot lower than the 527 in 2020-21. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There were 277 complaints about roads and transport in 2021-22, a further 260 about housing and public protection, and 115 about social services – nine more than the year before. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The council also received 360 compliments from the public in 2021-22, including 96 about adult services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

One of the compliments was from a man about the council’s safeguarding team. He wrote to the employee concerned to say that his wife, who had been helped by the council, had died. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The letter said: “You probably know but I still want to write to say that I will never ever find words to express my gratitude to you. Your help and support have been immeasurable.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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