Carers Crisis Hits Suffolk Town

Elderly and vulnerable people in a Suffolk town have been left without social services carers for almost a month as a care crisis grips the county. As Suffolk County Council announced it is to cut around 200 care jobs, it has emerged at least four people in Hadleigh are believed to be without help because there are not enough carers to look after them. The problem began when the council-funded agency that was providing care withdrew from the town. Margaret Davey, 50, is registered blind but has been looking after her 88-year-old father Sid Brown since his carers stopped visiting him at the end of July.

She said: “His carers rang me and said they would no longer be able to care for him, but not to worry because his care would still continue to be provided by social services. I went on holiday thinking that everything was sorted out but, while I was away, I got a phone call from his cleaner to say that there had been no carers in to see him for four days.

“We cut our holiday short and came back but that was more than three weeks ago and things still haven’t been sorted out. When I ring social services they just keep saying they have not got enough carers.”

Mr Brown, of Aldham Road, Hadleigh, has had hip replacements and has to wear elasticated-stockings, which need changing morning and night. He also needs help with his medication.

Mrs Davey, of Gallows Hill in the town, said: “He has seven tablets that he has to take and he gets very confused. When I came back from holiday he had already got worried about what he was meant to be taking when.

“The worst thing is I know that he is not the only one. There are several people in the town who are now going without – and some of them are in a worse position than us.”

The problems in Hadleigh began when the care agency Classic Care Services, which was contracted by Suffolk County Council, decided to withdraw from the town.

A spokeswoman for Classic Care Services said: “It’s very difficult for all private providers at the moment. With the budgetary pressures that are facing the council at the moment, the independent sector is also suffering. I’ve been in this business for 12 years and I have never known it to be as bad as this.

“Unfortunately, it became financially unviable for us to continue to provide for people in Hadleigh and we had to withdraw our services. We gave notice both verbally and in writing and complied with the terms of our contract so I’m very sad to hear that these people are still without a care package.”

Suffolk County Council’s social services department recognise Mr Brown’s need for care but say there are simply not enough carers to step in. Graham Newman, councillor for adult and community services, said: “We sympathise with Mr Brown and his daughter. Unfortunately, the company we used to provide care for Mr Brown withdrew their services at very short notice. We are treating this case as urgent and hope to find a replacement very soon.”

Gordon Slack, of Age Concern, described Mr Brown’s situation as “as yet another blow for people who are trying to support their families but are not getting enough help”.