Major staff shortages leave vulnerable adults in Buckinghamshire without appropriate support

Vulnerable adults in Bucks are missing out on annual care reviews due to major staff shortages  prompting fears some people may not be getting appropriate support.
Vulnerable adults in Bucks are missing out on annual care reviews due to major staff shortages prompting fears some people may not be getting appropriate support.

Vulnerable adults in Bucks are missing out on annual care reviews due to major staff shortages – prompting fears some people may not be getting appropriate support.

In quarter three of 2018/19, Bucks County Council (BCC) failed to hit the 70 per cent target for the number of adult social care clients receiving an annual review – with only 45.7 per cent assessed.

Annual reviews help social workers “understand how things are working” with adult social care clients and “pick up any issues”.

During a meeting of BCC’s cabinet this week, director of social care, Gill Quinton, blamed the low figures on a “significant shortage” of social workers who carry out the assessments.

However, she added performance has “improved dramatically” – as now 62 per cent of clients are having an annual review, compared to the previous quarter.

Ms Quinton said: “We have got significant shortage in social workers who carry out these assessments and that has had an impact on conducting the reviews.

“We are very dependent on trying to bring in agency staff and sometimes that’s not possible it has left us with gaps and that does impact in this area.

“We do have a plan in the next 12 months to create a bespoke team if we are able to recruit social workers who will carry out assessments and reviews, and that should impact the data moving forward.”

Leader of BCC, Martin Tett, raised concerns that failures to carry out annual reviews could mean that the “quality of life and wellbeing” of clients may be affected.

He said: “I look at it from the point of view from the clients, which is if they need an annual review and are entitled to an annual review then that might be affecting their quality of life and wellbeing.

“It is quite important to do what we can to make sure we deliver those annual reviews, so if there is extra support you need from cabinet, either directly or from the chief executive, I hope that you would bring that to our attention.”