City hit by shortage of home helps

Sheffield’s social services department admits there are 120
people in the city in need of home helps which the council cannot
provide because of staff shortages, writes Paul

The council says it is working within community care guidelines
after city MP Richard Allan asked the authority if it was legally
bound to provide a home help service.

The backlog came to light after it was revealed a 92-year-old
woman, who lives on her own, had been told the authority did not
have the resources to help her, despite its own assessment that
because of problems with her heart and mobility she needed a home
help to visit twice a day.

Eddie Sherwood, head of adult services at Sheffield council,
said: “Community care legislation states that we are required to
ensure that care is provided to those assessed as needing it,
within our resources.

“We do fulfil this obligation, but there can be a delay between
assessment and provision of home support.”

He was unable to say what the waiting time was. The authority
has started a major exercise to reduce waiting times, but figures
do not yet show the reduction. It has also launched a recruitment
drive aimed at attracting more home helps.

Sherwood said: “We’ve had a lot of interest in our home support
recruitment drive. This is very encouraging, because it means we
should be able to increase our capacity and serve more people.”

Richard Allan, Sheffield Hallam MP, who has taken up the elderly
woman’s case, has told the city council the situation is not
acceptable. He said: “If there is not a legal case for this lady to
be provided for, then there is most certainly a strong moral

“I don’t think this is an isolated case and I don’t think this
is just a problem in Sheffield, but I have asked the city council
for a full explanation.”



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