Sunderland mum left without care for days due to shortage of social care workers

A mother who uses a wheelchair was left without care and in a “state of panic” after being told there were not enough carers to provide the support she needs amid the national social care shortages.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 10:06 am

Kay Gibb, 50, was left unable to take her medication, prepare meals or be supported with her personal care needs after being told her care package could not be staffed following her moving across the river from Hylton Castle to Hartley Wood.

The shortage of social care workers has seldom been far from the headlines in recent months, with the national problem intensifying and many left in need.

There have been several national reports of an impending care crisis as care providers struggle to recruit carers. The annual Skills for Care workforce report has indicated there are currently more than 100,000 unfilled posts.

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Kay Gibb, 50, was initially told there were no available carers to support her needs after moving from Hylton Castle to Hartley Wood.

Kay, who suffers from ME and arthritis, said she was told there was a shortage of carers in her new neighbourhood after she moved.

"This left me unable to get help with my personal care such as bathing and showering and only able to take my medication twice a day rather than the prescribed four times.

"When they told me there were no carers I actually couldn’t believe what was said. I was left in a state of panic.”

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Kay Gibb, 50, suffers from arthritis and was diagnosed with ME after falling ill 10 years ago.

With Kay’s husband working long hours, a lot of the responsibility fell on 14-year-old daughter, Chloe.

Kay said: “I’ve been ill for around 10 years and had to give up work. My husband works on the buses for Go North East and we only have one wage so he can’t afford to take time off.

"I’ve been having to rely on my 14-year-old daughter when she gets home from school. Preparing breakfast and evening meals – it’s a lot of responsibility for someone her age

"She has been unable to go out with friends and I worry it has effected her school work.”

After being contacted by the Echo, Kay’s previous care providers, Comfort Call, confirmed her case had been passed into the hands of social services.

Branch manager, Nicole Donoghue, said.”We don’t cover all the area Kay has moved to and her old carers don’t travel that distance.”

Responding to Kay’s situation, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Healthy City, Councillor Kelly Chequer, said “it would be inappropriate to discuss individual cases”.

She added: “We would urge people to contact us if their circumstances change and we can look at if there are new and extra eligible needs.

“Despite the pressures on adult social care services both locally and nationally, the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable are always one of our priorities.”

Following the Echo contacting the council, Kay has now confirmed her care package has been reinstated with two visits by carers each day.

However, after four days without care, and the “sleepless nights and stress”, Kay has been left annoyed by the lack of initial support and is concerned for other vulnerable people.

The former senior cashier at Lloyds Bank said: “It’s been really stressful and caused a lot of anxiety.”

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