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West Bridgford
Monday, 30 November 2020

Council apologises for care failings upheld by watchdog

PUBLISHED

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Care bosses in Nottinghamshire have been told to apologise after complaints against them were upheld by a watchdog.

One case involved a woman who complained that Nottinghamshire County County had withdrawn her personal care budget.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman – the independent watchdog which investigates complaints – found that the council was at fault in the way it assessed the woman’s care budget, but not in the decision it reached.

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The ombudsman said the council should improve the way it completes assessments, and review its training on the issue.

In another case, the council has apologised over the way it decided to restrict a woman’s contact with her adult son.

The council has now agreed to ensure a risk assessment is in place for the woman to visit her son.

The third case in which fault was found involved a grandparent who said that the council had not supported her in helping her care for her grandson.

The ombudsman found that the council was at fault because it did not recognise that the grandson was a ‘looked-after child’ when he entered the care of his grandmother.

The council has agreed to make back-payments to the woman, and review the support she receives.

The final complaint involved a man who claimed his late mother had been attacked in her bedroom, and that carers did not notice her deteriorating condition.

The man, named simply as Mr A, said that the council did not properly investigate his complaint related to his mother, Mrs R. He said the council accepted the care home’s version of events and did not investigate properly.

According to the report, the man said that his mother was “paranoid, and yelped and flinched and put her hands up to her face if anyone came near her.”

On the complaint that the care home failed to address Mrs R’s deteriorating health, it found that the care home was not at fault.

The report, by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, states that: “There is evidence to show the care home monitored Mrs R’s health appropriately and asked for suitable medical help.”

However, a complaint was upheld that the care home failed to provide adequate care on pressure points, which include sores and ulcers.

The woman’s care was funded by York City Council, where the woman was originally from, but her care was provided in a Nottinghamshire care home.

Nottinghamshire County Council was found not to be at fault, but York City Council and the care home have been told to apologise for the distress caused to the family.

The rulings come after the Nottinghamshire council’s Governance and Ethics Committee took the decision to discuss and publish all ombudsman findings where fault was found, in order to ensure lessons are properly learned.

The committee’s chairman, Conservative Bruce Laughton, who represents the Muskham and Farnsfield ward, said at today’s meeting: “This is a new system that’s been set up by the committee, because we felt it was important for us to be able to scrutinise those decisions (by the Ombudsman) to see whether we could pick up anything.

“We have the ability to bring officers in front of the committee, to be able to talk through those decision making processes.

“It’s part and parcel of the checks and balances, to ensure there is greater scrutiny, and it also puts these reports into the public domain for other members to be able to scrutinise the decision-making process.”

Council officers re-assured the committee that measures had been put in place to help deal with the shortcomings, and that lessons had been learned, including a briefing to staff.

Martin Farran is the director for health, housing and adult social care at York City Council, which was found at fault over the first case.

He said: “We accept the findings from the ombudsman. We have already completed the agreed actions and have apologised to the family for the distress this incident caused Mrs R and her family.

“We provide adult social care support to thousands of people and their wellbeing is of paramount importance to us. We are sorry that we didn’t meet the standards we hold ourselves to on this occasion and will make sure that we learn from this so that it doesn’t happen again.”