Scrutiny Councillors seek reassurance that Health and Social Services are on top of pressures facing them in coming months

The Adult Services Scrutiny Panel met with Cllr Mark Child, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Community Health Services and discussed the Adult Services Performance Monitoring Report May 2021.

Members felt that the community Mental Health Team will come under increased pressure in the coming months. The Panel noted that most of the data presented is slightly ‘out of synch’ due to the pandemic and queried when the Panel will have more accurate figures on the Mental Health Team. The Panel also queried how the public could be reassured that both Health and Social Services are on top of the problem.  Officers confirmed the inaccuracies are due to the change in the system used. There are anomalies on the new Wales Community Care Information System (WCCIS).  However, this will improve and the Panel will see a much better position when it looks at performance data next.

Work around Mental Health Teams is in partnership with the Health Board and Third Sector organisations. This regional approach is driven by plans around the Mental Health and Wellbeing board. Officers stated that a public single point of access will be launched in the coming months and more information on activities can be provided at a future meeting.

The Panel felt that all Members should be sent information on the single access point and be provided with more information on what is available now so they know how to refer people. Cllr Child felt this was a good idea but did remind the Panel that Members would not be able to refer individuals to specific projects; referrals must go through assessment by a professional.

The Panel felt that the words ‘pressure’ and ‘Covid’, problems with staff numbers, employing staff and pressure in communities were often mentioned in the report. Social Services has also moved to people being looked after at home. The Panel queried if pressures are due to Covid or because of expecting too much of people. Officers stated that there is a little bit of a legacy from people not wanting to come in. In addition, people who were working from home have now gone back to work and people are starting to say they have been suffering under pressure for 12 months and now need help. As a result, you are seeing people coming to Social Services in crisis. Therefore, officers felt the pressures are a mixture of everything.

Many carers for people with Learning Disabilities are elderly. The Panel wanted to know how much support is provided to these carers and queried the availability of support through Day Services.  Officers confirmed that Day Services have been limited in capacity due to social distancing with only around a third of those service users who were accessing it currently able to. Carers assessments and direct payments are being offered and the team are trying to accommodate families with alternatives to day services.

Cllr Child added that a lot has been asked of carers who have taken on a lot more than they would have done in normal circumstances and the Directorate has always acknowledged there would be a later demand of need when we came out of the lockdown.

Cllr Susan Jones, Convener of the Panel has written to Cllr Child reflecting the Panel’s views of discussions held at this meeting. Please click here to read this letter, the response letter once received from Cllr Child and to view a recording of this meeting.

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