BARNSLEY is not suffering from ‘bed-blocking’ as a result of a lack of space in care homes following elderly residents being discharged from hospital, according to safeguarding bosses.

Councillors on a scrutiny panel met at Barnsley Town Hall on Tuesday to receive an annual report from Barnsley Safeguarding Adults Board (BSAB) where bosses admitted private care homes were ‘diminishing’ in the town.

Coun Trevor Smith, who represents the Darfield ward, said he had been made aware that beds available to elderly people following a stint in hospital had gone down - a matter he said was a serious safeguarding concern.

However, compliance manager Adrian Hobson said: “Barnsley doesn’t suffer from bed-blocking - it isn’t the same here as it is elsewhere.

“It is correct that care homes have diminished, but it has had no impact on hospital discharges and there’s sufficient space to meet the need.

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“It’s a national picture. Often the occupation is a lonely one and providers do struggle to recruit, but we’re working to get the number of carers back up.”

The meeting was told that pay was a big cause of people leaving the industry, and bosses said they are working to address that - but it’s in employers’ hands.

Lennie Sahota, service director for adult social care and health at Barnsley Council, added: “They’re not paid at the level they should be and that’s the reality - we can’t force employers to pay better wages.

“Carers, understandably, often move into the retail sector when they’re offered 50p per hour more, but it’s something we’re trying to address by encouraging employers.

“Recruiting, developing and retaining a good quality workforce is essential.”