Vulnerable adults who use Sheffield’s social care services ‘do not feel listened to’ and are confused by the current system, a new report says.
Healthwatch Sheffield surveyed hundreds of residents to gather their views on social care in the city, and has drawn up a list of recommended improvements.
The body – set up as a consumer champion for patients – produced the report after the council announced it needed to make savings following an £11.5 m overspend on social care.
The council organised a series of ‘have your say’ events at the town hall – but Healthwatch said it was concerned many people would not be able to contribute.
“Many people we spoke to said they don’t feel listened to,” said the report, which added many care users wanted services delivered locally, instead of being contracted out.
“The system and large numbers of staff involved can be confusing. Many people would like to deal with a named key worker.”
Information was ‘not reaching those who may need it most’, while isolated groups were ‘less likely to be happy’ with their care.
The report said the council should provide every vulnerable adult with a named contact, as well as running information sessions about social care. Web pages also needed to be easier to understand.
Prof Pam Enderby, chair of Healthwatch Sheffield, said: “We wanted to find out what those less able to contribute in discussion forums felt about the services they received, what worked for them and what didn’t, and how potential savings could be made without compromising standards.”
A council spokesman said: “We are concerned to hear of issues facing people in accessing social care. However, we already know about a lot of these issues, which is why for the last eight months we have been working extensively with those affected.
“We are working hard to both maintain and improve services at the same time as dealing with significant cuts to our funding.”