‘More care in the community will add to staff pressure’

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The Health Department recently unveiled a new model for care provision, which will see more services provided in community hubs and homes in an effort to reduce pressures on the Hospital.

The Jersey Care Model is currently being stress-tested and could go before the States Assembly later this year.

However, a number of charities, while being broadly supportive of the plans, have raised concerns about the need to find extra staff should the model be given the go-ahead.

Bronwen Whittaker, chief executive of Family Nursing & Home Care, said they have the best staffing levels they have had in years but that more staff would be needed to sustain the Jersey Care Model.

She said: ‘The issue for many charities is where these staff are going to come from.

‘We are in a great position due to our recruitment. But we need to make sure there is the skills for not just nurses, but support staff and therapists. That is the big challenge around this.

‘There needs to be an Islandwide approach. It doesn’t matter which charity these people work for, it matters that they are there because it is going to take more staff to care for people in their homes than it would in the hospital.’

Jersey Cheshire Home experienced a nursing recruitment crisis over the festive period, which has since been remedied, but Jim Hopley, chairman of the charity, echoed the concerns.

He said: ‘There have been successful things to come from the model already, such as the Closer to Home stuff, but I do have real concerns about staffing levels.

‘It is the elephant in the room as to where these people are going to come from because there are problems right across the sector.’

Figures over the past year have shown that the Health Department has regularly struggled to fill nursing vacancies. In November, senior department officials admitted £1.7 million was spent on agency nurses in the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, Autism Jersey chief executive Chris Dunne added: ‘We have been involved a lot and had a great chance to have our say, but our concern is autism is sliding down the order and we do not want that to happen. It is getting thrown in with mental health when it should be separate on its own. People might have issues with both, but it should be separate.’

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