GWENT’S five local authorities say social care services in the region are “under massive pressure” and have issued a joint plea for people to be mindful of the current problems they are facing.

Staff absences due to covid and difficulties with recruiting new care workers are putting a strain on current care services, with those in receipt of care being told that changes to their arrangements are “highly likely”.

In a joint letter issued on Monday, January 10, social care chiefs from Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, and Torfaen councils said they were having great difficulty providing support services as quickly as they’d like and that there is a particularly high volume of people waiting for care across Gwent.

It comes as the social care sector across the UK continues to face widespread disruption because of Covid-19, which is leading to services being incredibly stretched and struggling to meet demand.

Last month, Torfaen County Borough Council issued a separate warning that its care services were under increased pressure because of the Christmas period.

Its leader Cllr Anthony Hunt said: “We cannot absorb any more. There is a systemic national crisis in care which has been simmering for years.

“A bad situation is being made worse by the pandemic which is presenting unprecedented challenges and continues to test everyone in the health and social care sector to the limits.”

In this week’s joint letter, Gwent’s five local authorities said: “Due to staff absence and the additional pressures created by the pandemic, we are having great difficulty providing support services as responsively as we would like, and we also have a considerable number of people waiting for support packages across the region which has an impact on both our hospitals and those people living at home.

“We must commend all our community based staff and our local care providers who have spent many months managing a very complex situation. Despite this hard work, we still have a large number of Gwent residents who still require packages of care and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

"We are actively trying to recruit new carers, but this is problematic. In addition, we are considering all options to support the sector including where possible redeploying staff from other council teams. Therefore, we are grateful to the support provided by family and friends who are able to provide care and support to their loved ones during this unprecedented situation."