Elderly people in Herefordshire are falling between cracks in the health care system, which has led to at least one death, according to an experienced carer in the county.

“In my 11 years I have seen so much neglect, confusion, lack of transparency and of communication between health authorities,” independent healthcare assistant (HCA) Kelly Skyrme told a meeting last week about Herefordshire’s health and social care.

“Our isolated, elderly population don’t know how to break through the red tape and get listened to,” she said. “My clients don’t have internet access, and may have little family around them, and some are housebound.”


Previously, such people would have had a “yellow folder” at home setting out their care plan. “But that has gone digital, leaving people like me not knowing what’s going on,” Ms Skyrme said, adding that she is trying to revive such a system.

Dr Mike Hearne, managing director of Herefordshire General Practice which provides support services to the county’s surgeries, defended the change, saying: “Digitisation is a better way of keeping us all up to date – the paper records will always be historical. The question is how we open it up to everyone involved in that person’s care.”

Wye Valley NHS Trust head of equality Gemma Davies said: “I was, told by nurse, that HCAs do the nursing, and nurses do the paperwork.”

Ms Skyrme said on this: “As carers we are looked down upon, the system is so challenging for us, but we are keeping people out of hospital.

“We get paid £19,000, not an average of £34,000. Yet everybody calls us ‘nurse’.”

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