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London Borough of Merton (12 010 181)

Category : Adult care services > Charging

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 03 Sep 2013

Summary

Complaint by a daughter about charges for her mother's residential care at a care home placement arranged by the council.

The complaint

Complaint by a daughter about charges for her mother's residential care at a care home placement arranged by the council.

The complainant's mother needed residential care when she was discharged from hospital. The complainant identified a suitable home and the council arranged the placement. The care home then made separate arrangements with the complainant to recover the full private cost of the placement.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

The Ombudsman found maladministration because the council arranged the placement and the contract for care was between the council and the care home. The complainant should not have been paying a top-up fee. The law says the actions of the care provider shall be treated as actions of or on behalf of the council.

The Ombudsman recommends the council should:

  • reimburse to the complainant money paid directly to the care home in top-up charges and then seek to recover the amount from the care provider;
  • ensure all parties it contracts with to provide care on its behalf are aware it cannot charge extra fees for the same care directly to the service user or their family; and
  • report back to the Ombudsman within three months on the action it has taken on both of the points above.

 

 

 

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