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A council officer who commissions residential care for people in Swansea said his department did not have “grave concerns” about the effect of Brexit on the sector.

Peter Field was asked at a council scrutiny meeting how leaving the EU could impact the residential care workforce given the contribution of European workers.

Mr Field, Swansea’s principal officer for prevention, wellbeing, and commissioning said an audit of the social care and supported housing workforce between March and May this year found that 6% of employees on average were EU nationals.

He said this figure was similar to the UK-wide picture but that the council was testing it for accuracy.

“We don’t have any grave concerns,” he said, referring to Brexit.

“If that 6% were to disappear it would cause performance problems but we don’t expect that.”

Mr Field said care homes found it very difficult to recruit nurses but less hard to find care staff.

He said the council was asking care home providers to confirm that support was being given to help EU workers apply for “settled status”, allowing them to continue living and working in the UK.

The council said after the meeting that a second survey was being carried out to ascertain the proportion of the EU workforce in social care and supported housing and that the 6% figure may prove not to be accurate.

The council owns and operates six care homes for older people in Swansea. The private sector operates 38 care homes, which look after council-funded and privately-funded residents.

Last year 29 of the 38 homes were inspected by regulator Care Inspectorate Wales.

Four of the 29 received a notice for being in breach of care home regulations but appropriate action was subsequently taken.

Only one complaint was raised about the 38 homes to the council’s corporate complaints section in 2018-19.

The scrutiny report said residents could complain to their care home provider in the first instance and then to the council or CIW if they felt the issue had not been resolved.

Councillor Peter Jones, whose late mother had spent time in a private care home with council support, said it had been difficult for her and him to complain to the care home although the issues were not serious.

“It is a concern that people have,” said Cllr Jones.

Mr Field said he expected care homes to address this by providing relevant information to residents and families but that there were other options.

“People don’t have to go direct to care homes – they have other routes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the report said that although there were financial risks associated with care homes occupancy levels were high in Swansea and that most operators were small businesses rather than large equity-backed companies which had, in some cases, proved unstable.

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