Staff shortages across the care sector has led one of Jersey’s largest charitable care providers to restrict certain services in order to maintain core services, ensuring the wellbeing of the Island’s most vulnerable residents.
Les Amis has announced that due to a lack of available and qualified staff they have been left with no option but to cease their Community Domiciliary and Short Breaks services with effect from 31st March.
Following a prolonged period of trying to meet the health care demands with limited staff resources, the charity felt it necessary to withdraw certain services entirely, allowing them to focus on their core role as a provider of Residential, Respite and Domiciliary Support for those with learning disabilities and associated conditions.
Shaun Findlay, Managing Director of Les Amis said: “This isn’t a decision which we have made lightly, but it was necessary in order for us to maintain the high quality of care that we pride ourselves on. We don’t want to let families down by trying to provide a service we don’t have sufficient staff to deliver. We have to not only think of those that use our services, but also of our staff who have become increasingly stretched by shortages.”
Les Amis will be working with families and colleagues in Health and Community Services and within the Children’s social work team in CYPES to find alternative arrangements but believe that there will be no long-term solution to enable full services to support those with care needs unless there is a material increase in suitability qualified care professionals at all levels in Jersey.
Shaun said: “Les Amis is not the only operator in the care sector which will be facing these difficult decisions and we feel now is the time to speak publicly about what will shortly become a crisis. The Government needs to make this situation their top priority as without an adequate care service for the Island’s ageing population, care is going to be compromised.”
The 2011 Consultation Paper for Health & Social Services revealed that between 2010 and 2040 there will be a 95% increase in Jersey residents aged over 65, with significantly fewer people of working age to support them through payment of taxes. The Jersey Care Federation has been working with the States of Jersey to provide training and courses to encourage more to enter the industry, but with limited take-up to date.
Cheryl Kenealy, Chairperson of the Jersey Care Federation, said: “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jersey is in this position as we were aware that the demands on the sector were going to increase, yet the Government’s approach has not changed. Regulation of the industry has increased, which we welcomed, but there were no benefits or additional support to manage the impact. Now we are struggling to find individuals willing to enter the sector and it’s time we put solid plans in place to address the issue and protect our future position. Attracting new employees into the care sector must become a priority for the Island, otherwise our most vulnerable people will suffer.”