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‘Loved ones are dying and we are unable to get to them quick enough’

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Original article from Kent Live

Social care providers in Kent are unable to accept hospital patients ready for discharge due to staff shortages.

More than 200 managers across the UK told the Institute of Health and Social Care Management that they have had to turn down requests for care.

The UK Homecare ­Association said that staffing is “the worst anyone can remember”.

Director of palliative care provider Your Care, Joanna Mitchell, takes referrals from community nurses and hospitals across Kent to help people live their final days at home.

Read more:The 14 Kent care homes in Sittingbourne, Dartford, Ashford, Dover and more rated 'outstanding'

She said she had to turn down around 30 care packages one morning last week.

Joanna said: “It’s heartbreaking, because families are left to struggle on their own in what’s already an emotional environment.

“Their loved one is dying and we just can’t get to them quick enough, if at all.” ­

Firms across the country that send carers round to homes on a daily basis are handing back care ­packages, which means families can struggle to keep their relatives safe.

Dr Jane Townson, UKHCA chief ­executive, said: “We’ve got one of the lowest numbers of beds per population of any country in Europe.”

UK Home Care Association chief executive Dr Jane Townson

One care manager said their provider is not adding names to its waiting list until January. Another said they are refusing between 15 and 20 care packages a week.

Age UK calculated there were 1.5 million older people with un-met care needs even before the pandemic.

Rachel Harrison, national officer for the GMB union, said: “It’s no wonder care homes are ­chronically understaffed. It’s a direct result of appalling pay and conditions.”

The Department of Health and Social Care, headed by Sajid Javid, said: “We are working with local authorities and providers to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high-quality care to meet increasing demands.

“This includes providing councils with access to more than £1billion of additional funding in 2021-22.”

Original Article