Enquiries over adult abuse or neglect double in Hartlepool as calls to increase over safeguarding

Hartlepool has seen an increase in the number of concerns lodged over adult safeguarding issues, according to the latest figures.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 30th December 2019, 3:45 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

The number of concerns over adult safeguarding, which is when people ring or contact their local authority saying they’re worried, in Hartlepool rose from 1,053 in 2017/18 to 1,117 in 2018/19.

The number of section 42 enquiries, which is when a local authority makes an enquiry if it believes an adult is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, rose from 157 to 368.

It came as the Hartlepool Borough Council Adult and Community Based Services Committee received the 2018/19 annual report for the Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board.

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Ann Baxter, independent chair of the board, said the rise can both be seen as a positive, indicating increased awareness and reporting, and negative.

She also added there are a number of areas where they have made progress and improvements in the past year.

She said: “One of the key messages of the report is activity has gone up.

“As ever that could be positive and negative, it could be that people are increasingly aware of safeguarding adult issues and are reporting them. But it is also an indication there is more activity.

“On a more positive note, some of the achievements of the board, I think we’re particularly pleased to see a reduction in medication incidents.

“We were very high for number of medication incidents that resulted in safeguarding enquiries and a lot of work was done on that in a task and finish group. This year we’ve seen a 20% reduction in those.”

Ms Baxter also added not enough credit is given for staff who work in care homes and called for more support for them.

She said: “It’s a personal view but I really feel strongly that care home staff should be valued more by society and paid more.

“We do have a churn in care home staff, often people are being paid minimum wage for doing a very demanding and challenging job and if they get better pay they move on, offering training is really important to keep on going.”

Coun Carl Richardson said he thinks austerity and a reduction in government funding is contributing to the increase in demand and deprivation, adding action is needed.

He said: “At the end of the day you’ve got an increase in deprivation.

“Unfortunately with the election I think this is going to continue and I think it’s going to get worse. We need to get our act together and try and protect the poor in society which has faced the brunt of this austerity.”