A NEWPORT woman with rheumatoid arthritis has been left without care support amid what she says is a "crisis" in the industry.

Jenna Kearns has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since the age of three.

She has been receiving care from the same agency - Right At Home Cardiff and Newport - for several years.

However, she says that on Friday (September 17) she received a call from Right At Home to say they were handing her package back to social services as they didn't have enough staff.

"Just a week's notice," she said.

In a letter from Right At Home, received by Ms Kearns and seen by the Argus, the firm state that a week's notice was actually more than they were required to give.

"Contractually we are only required to serve 72 hours’ notice on any packages of care," they said.

"The fact we gave one week was four more days than we needed to.

"This was done so we could provide care for as long as we physically could, without having to hand your package back.

"We are sorry we are in this position, but the care sector is in crisis. We have no other choice."


Ms Kearns has now sought help from Newport City Council's social services.

"They only called yesterday because I contacted them," she said.

"Today they have said they are still trying but cannot get any company to take on my care package.

"All my family work full time so they can’t help with as much care as I need and they also have to worry about me being stuck at home on my own.

"My mum is exhausted from looking after me the amount she does."

A spokesperson for Right at Home Cardiff and Newport went on to say: “The safety and wellbeing of all our clients is always our top priority. Due to the well reported recruitment challenges faced by the whole social care sector, and the impact this has had on our own staffing levels, we made the difficult decision to ask the local authority to take over the care of a small number of our clients. 

“This decision was not taken lightly, but was made to ensure clients would continue to receive the high quality care they deserve and expect. 

“We have robust handover policies in place for situations like these – all of which were followed to the letter.

"We engaged fully with the client and the local authority to assist the transition.

"We are disappointed to learn that the local authority has not put in place the care package as expected. We are committed to ensuring the client receives the care and support they require”. 

Newport City Council said that, like councils across the country, they are seeing a high demand on community social care services and increasing domiciliary staff shortages.

Together with other factors, such as the toll the pandemic has taken on unpaid carers, this has created a very challenging situation nationally.

Councillor Paul Cockeram, cabinet member for social services, said: “I fully appreciate how difficult this is for residents and their families but a sudden rise in demand combined with staff shortages has created the perfect storm. We are profoundly sorry for the distress this is creating for individual and families.

“We are putting everything we can into finding solutions and our teams are working as hard as they can to ensure continuity of care and new packages of care wherever they possibly can but we are in unprecedented times.

“We want to provide the care people need in their own homes but difficult decisions are being made every day because of the challenges we are facing. These are not decisions that anyone wants to make."