Care services braced for New Year calls

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Specialist social service teams in Norfolk fielded nearly 600 emergency calls over the Christmas period.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Specialist social service teams in Norfolk fielded nearly 600 emergency calls over the Christmas period.

The county council drafted in extra staff to provide support for its emergency duty team during one of its busiest times of year.

They dealt with issues ranging from people needing urgent mental health assessments to emergency admissions of children into foster care over the Christmas period.

Other calls came from older people who had fallen, or whose home care had not arrived when expected or needed extra help after being taken ill.

Tony Langham, team manager, said: “As usual this was a really busy time of year for us and some of the issues that we have to deal with are quite serious. But we are always prepared. We also have a Rapid Response Team which can step in at short notice to support vulnerable people in their own home, as well as a new Night Owl service. These carers can respond to unplanned need and this enables the service to offer help 24 hours a day."

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Staff are now preparing for the New Year, when a team of nine social workers, sessional social workers and support staff is likely to see a similar number of calls and deal with very similar issues.

Chris Mowle, cabinet member for adult social services, said: “Our work never stops. I know that a lot of hard work and careful planning is carried out months before the Christmas period to make sure that the teams can deal with emergencies in the same professional way that they do throughout the year. I want to pay tribute to all the staff who are helping vulnerable people when most of us are enjoying time spent with family and friends.”