Care workers in Bucks use translators during client visits, admits council report

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Care workers looking after vulnerable adults in Bucks have translated for one another on visits, it has been revealed.

Language issues are highlighted in a report looking at recruitment within adult social care, presented to a county council select committee

It gives examples of ‘current pressures due to staff capacity and competency’, which includes ‘reports that on some domiciliary double handed calls one worker is translating for another’.

It adds that there have ‘been reports of providers struggling with staff not being competent to administer medication due to language barriers’. The council is also monitoring around five private care providers for ‘safeguarding and complaints’, with a ‘key issue’ being lack of English skills.

Around one in five domiciliary workers come from abroad. The report said the government’s decision not to include social care on the list of occupations to be exempted from immigration restrictions ‘could seriously harm the ability to recruit desperately needed care staff and damage our capability to care properly for large numbers of vulnerable people’.

Mike Appleyard, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We have looked into the concerns expressed in the select committee’s report and understand these are exceptionally rare issues and in no way the usual practice in Buckinghamshire.

“It is a reality that to support our ageing population both nationally and locally, providers are having to recruit staff from overseas.

“There are many more examples of the qualities, skills and qualifications that this recruitment policy brings to the local care market.

“I have been assured our management team has already addressed the specific couple of cases mentioned and will continue to monitor things closely in the future.”

The report added that of 82 adult social care staff directly employed by the council, 21 are off sick, with workers taking an average of 20.7 days off ill every year.

It said: “Stress and depression are almost certainly impacted by the lack of resources and the increasing pressure on the demand for services.”