Healthwatch Liverpool response to resignation of the director of adult social care at Liverpool City Council
In the past few days Samih Kalakeche has tendered his resignation as adult social care director of Liverpool City Council. In an interview with the Observer at the weekend he said "frankly I can't see social services surviving after two years. That's the absolute maximum. If we don't do something within the next six months, I believe social services will not exist by 2018-19". We are obviously very concerned to hear such a stark warning.
We share his concern about the future of social care services in the city. Liverpool's social care budget is tighter than ever before after years of cuts to local authority finances and the council has more cuts to make this year. We are already hearing that people have to wait too long for care assessments and that it is often difficult to get their needs met by care services that are underfunded.
The social care crisis is one of the hidden causes of the increased pressure on the NHS this winter. These are vital services that help reduce hospital admissions and can speed up hospital discharge. If hospitals can't send people home with an appropriate package of care in place or find them a suitable care home placement this can mean that they remain in hospital longer than they need to be. If people return home with insufficient care in place then their risk of readmission increases.
Whether in a care home or cared for at home with care workers coming in for support, people should be able to rely on safe, quality care that meeting their needs with humanity and dignity. Too often, we hear that this is not always the case.
Sarah Thwaites, Manager of Healthwatch Liverpool commented "we are very sorry to hear about Samih's resignation. His commitment to doing the best he could for people in Liverpool who need care was evident. Despite the challenges of the last few years we felt reassured that there was someone in charge who understood why these services and the people who rely on them matter.
"We hope that a way can be found to support social care services in the city. We are urging people to speak up, to tell us why care services matter to them and their families. Ageing and ill health come to us all - sometime gradually, sometimes suddenly as a result of an accident or health crisis. We all have a responsibility to make sure that our most vulnerable residents can access the care and support that they need when they need it."
People can share their feedback about health and care services with Healthwatch Liverpool by calling 0300 77 77 007, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit www.healthwatchliverpool.co.uk.