Havering Council ordered to compensate pensioner after carer failure

Havering Council was ordered to compensate an elderly and vulnerable woman after carers she was paying the council for repeatedly showed up late or not at all.

On July 29, the Local Government Ombudsman told the council to apologise to the care user and her daughter, compensate them £100 each and waive half of her care fees for five months.

Carers for the woman, referred to only as Mrs H to protect her identity, were employed by Allied Healthcare – later Allied Health Services – but commissioned by Havering Council.

Mrs H was meant to receive visits between 9.30am and 10.30am and between 4.30pm and 5.30pm every day but carers were late 75 per cent of the time, in the worst case by two and a half hours.

They also failed to show up “on many occasions” – in one instance missing two visits in a row – and there is evidence to suggest they sometimes failed to give Mrs H her medication.

The ombudsman report added: “The family were upset to see carers be rude and raise their voices at Mrs H because she could not understand them.

“On a couple of occasions the family asked the carer to leave. This left them worried about what was happening when they were not present.”

After investigating the matter, the ombudsman told the council to waive half of the fees from September 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019 due to the poor service received.

The council was also instructed to apologise and pay both Mrs H and her daughter £100 for their “distress, time and trouble” over the issue.

The ombudsman explained: “When a council commissions another organisation to provide services on its behalf it remains responsible for those services and for the actions of the organisation providing them.

“So, although I found fault with the actions of the care provider, I have made recommendations to the council.”

The company Allied Healthcare transferred the care service to Allied Health Services in November 2018.

In the same month, the Care Quality Commission announced it had serious doubts about the future of Allied Healthcare as it struggled with severe financial difficulties.

The Havering branch of Allied Health Services is currently rated “good” by the CQC.

Havering Council was offered the opportunity to respond to the decision but has yet to do so.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter