Shortage of carers cause Carmarthenshire social care delays

Carmarthenshire’s Director of Social Services has written to people receiving or waiting for care to explain temporary changes and delays caused by a shortage of carers.

The council say that Carmarthenshire, like many other areas of Wales and the UK, is affected by significant challenges in recruiting staff into the social care workforce following the Covid-19 pandemic.

It means many people are either waiting to be released from hospital with a package of care or may see changes to their current care arrangements.

Jake Morgan, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Director for Communities, said: “We are currently managing to provide care to the people most in need but the situation is becoming very difficult.

“This is a national issue not unique to Carmarthenshire, but people deserve to know why there are delays in the system and why we may be asking them to cooperate with temporary changes to ensure we can use our resources to care for as many people as possible.”

People are being asked to be flexible in their requests for care packages – for example carers may visit less frequently, at different times to normal, and the time they spend with people may be reduced.

People are also being asked if family can support their care needs temporarily.

No changes are being introduced before discussion and agreement with service users and their relatives.

In the meantime, the council is urgently recruiting carers to join its in-house social care team.

There are opportunities for people to join the team as carers in the community or in the authority’s residential care homes.

Cllr Jane Tremlett, the council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Like others we are experiencing difficulties in our social care workforce that is having an impact on people who need our support.

“We are being honest about the situation so that people are aware of the challenges and able to make decisions about temporary changes we may ask them to agree to as part of an existing care package or a new care package.”

She added: “Our carers are the shining light of our service. They do a tremendous job looking after people with care and compassion and I would like to thank our workforce for their continued commitment in what are extremely challenging times.

“We are doing our very best to recruit people to grow our social care workforce so that we can get back to providing the level of care we want to give to our service users.

“We hope these are very short-term measures that will be applied only with agreement – we hope that our services users and their families will understand and be flexible with their care requests so we can continue to meet demand.”

The council is fast-tracking the recruitment system for people interested in becoming a carer, with a range of permanent posts across Carmarthenshire.

Carers support people with personal care, meal preparation, assist with medication and help them live full and active lives.

Full training and support from senior colleagues is provided along with good rates of pay, access to the local authority pension scheme, paid annual leave and flexible working arrangements.

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