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Adult social care services ‘at saturation point’

a carer carefully holding an older person's hand

ADULT social care services have reached “a point of saturation” in Torfaen, with demand for care increasing amid recruitment difficulties, a council boss has said.

Stephen Vickers, chief executive of Torfaen council, provided councillors with an update on the pressures facing adult social care at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Adult social care supports about 570 people in their own homes through the provision of domiciliary care in Torfaen, providing about 8,500 hours of care per week.

Around 85 per cent of services are outsourced to the private care sector, with the remainder delivered in-house.

Mr Vickers said the combination of historical challenges facing the sector and Covid-19 seem to be “the perfect storm” and that services are “reaching the point of crisis”.

Torfaen, like other areas in the UK, has faced difficulties recruiting and retaining staff following the pandemic.

Keith Rutherford, the council’s chief officer for social care, last week warned that recruitment issues facing domiciliary care were the worst he could remember. And Mr Vickers said while the number of carers has reduced, the demand for care has not.

“At its most basic then, our system has reached a point of saturation and as such currently has more demand for care than we are able to consistently meet,” he said. Mr Vickers said he would like to reassure councillors and residents that staff will continue to provide care to keep people safe.

“Despite the challenges, adult social care services are working harder than ever to keep pace and to keep people safe,” he added.

Council leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, and executive member for adult services, Cllr David Daniels, have requested an urgent seminar for all members in the New Year to discuss the issue, the meeting heard.

Mr Vickers thanked frontline staff who he said would continue to care for some of the most vulnerable over the coming weeks.

“When many of us will be in the safety of our own homes during the holiday period, including on Christmas Day, many of these staff will be working to support our most vulnerable residents in their homes,” he added.

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Adult social care services ‘at saturation point’