Care complaints in elderly care treble in Wales

The number of referrals to the Care Council for Wales (CCW) involving student social workers has fallen over the past two years, according to latest figures.

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The number of complaints to the Care Council for Wales (CCW) involving care workers supporting elderly people has trebled in the past three years from 12 in 2008-9 to 37 in 2010-11.

The CCW’s annual report for 2010-11 shows that during 2010-11 this included five referrals relating to theft from older people. One care worker was handed a five-month jail term after stealing £400 from an 87-year-old client while on police bail after a separate allegation involving £2,000 fraud from another client.

The number of referrals to the Care Council for Wales (CCW) involving student social workers fell over the past two years.

The report shows that, of the 178 referrals received, 10 involved students, compared to 26 out of 148 referrals in 2008-9. Most referrals (68%) involved children’s social care workers. More than half (55%) of these involved residential childcare workers.

But the report points out that residential childcare workers only make up 21% of the 10,541 strong register, so the proportion of complaints is relatively high.

Referrals related to the inappropriate use of restraint by residential childcare workers had increased markedly in the past three years, the figures showed. There were 22 referrals related to such allegations in 2010-11, compared with just three in 2008-9.

Gerry Evans, CCW director of standards and regulation welcomed the reduction in referrals involving students.

He said: “This seems to indicate that registration has had a positive impact, therefore supporting the need to register social work students.”

However, he was concerned about the high proportion of referrals involving residential childcare workers.

He said: “We will need to work with a range of bodies and groups to investigate further and ensure everything is in place to safeguard children and provide safeguards for staff working in residential child care.”

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