Portsmouth residents’ fury over care home’s staffing crisis claims

Michael Marsh (73) from Caroline Square has noticed less carers over the last six months.'''Picture Cesar Moreno Huerta (160088-9244)
Michael Marsh (73) from Caroline Square has noticed less carers over the last six months.'''Picture Cesar Moreno Huerta (160088-9244)
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  • National care company deny staffing levels are too low
  • However, insider reveals carers are stressed and in need of more support
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A CARE home that serves hundreds of people in Portsmouth has been criticised, amid claims a staffing crisis is affecting its quality of care.

A frustrated resident at the Caroline Square, in King William Street, Portsea, says the independent living home is regularly understaffed.

I need proper care. I don’t need them (carers) coming in and rushing through the care and getting out the door as fast as they can.

Michael Marsh, of Caroline Square

Their care is provided by national company Sevacare, which has 487 clients across five sites in Portsmouth.

The firm denies it is understaffed but Peter Smith, a resident at Brunel Court in Nutfield Place – which also has care provided by Sevacare – believes there is an issue with a lack of staffing.

Some residents at Caroline Square, like pensioner Michael Marsh, suffer from disabilities and need extra support from a carer.

However, Mr Marsh – who has muscular dystrophy – claimed a decline in staff has led to carers rushing jobs and not providing the appropriate level of assistance he and his neighbours pay hundreds of pounds every week.

Their concerns led to a meeting this week with Justin Wallace-Cook, Portsmouth City Council’s assistant director of adult social care.

‘We want something done because we’ve just had enough,’ said Mr Marsh, 73.

‘I need proper care. I don’t need them (carers) coming in and rushing through the care and getting out the door as fast as they can.’

Sevacare is contracted by Portsmouth City Council to provide carers for the city.

A former employee of the care company, who resigned last year, said the situation had become ‘unbearable’.

Speaking to The News, the source said: ‘The stress we were having to deal with on a daily basis was just too much.

‘A lot of people that come here should be in a nursing home but they don’t have the funds to afford to go there.

‘There just aren’t enough of us to do the job.’

The 22-year-old said many carers were forced to work extra shifts to cover the workload pushing some to breaking point.

The ex-employee added: ‘You feel strained and mentally and physically drained. People are tired and can’t do this many hours.

‘I don’t know how they can manage to do people’s medication when they’re working 17 hours.

‘It’s simply not good enough.’

Darren Stapelberg is the chief operations officer for Sevacare.

He has denied there is a staffing shortage and said a total of 166 people were employed in the city.

He said: ‘There’s not been a shortage of staff. We’re working closely with the council to ensure that each individual client gets the care that they deserve.’

He added he had heard reports of staff being stressed by the amount of working hours but said Sevacare had met all the work needed by the council.

‘Every single staff and shift we have had over the past 18 months is in line with what’s been commissioned by the local authority.

‘There are clients who believe they’re not getting enough care. That simply isn’t the case.’

Mr Wallace-Cook met with residents on Monday and is due to hold another meeting next week.

He said: ‘We welcome feedback on the services we purchase and are naturally concerned if people aren’t receiving the level of care they expect.

‘Social workers and our contracts team have been working closely with Sevacare to ensure that people are receiving the correct level of care they require.’