The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about lack of care Mrs C received. This is because we could not add to the Council’s response and are satisfied any injustice to Mrs C has been remedied through the additional processes and procedures the Council has put in place.
- Mr D says his mother, Mrs C was left alone by a Connect officer when she pressed her alarm pendant and required the emergency services. Mr D says Mrs C had been on the floor for six hours before using her pendant and calling the emergency services, and although the Council has implemented additional procedures which will help others in the future, Mrs C should receive financial compensation because the officer did not stop with her.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse effect on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start an investigation if the tests set out in our Assessment Code are not met.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- The Council’s investigation report and response to Mr D identified some concerns regarding the incident when Mrs C was left alone by the officer after she had pressed her alarm pendant and called the emergency services. Although staff had been following protocol at the time and had responded to the alarm call within a reasonable time, it highlighted areas for improvement including asking service users how long they had been on the floor and staying with them if there are no other emergency calls to attend to. It apologised to Mrs C it did not do this in her case.
- Mr D says Mrs C should be financially compensated. The Council confirmed Mrs C was left comfortable, in no danger, had her phone by her waiting for an ambulance to arrive, and was checked on every 20 minutes. The Council has apologised to Mrs C, amended its procedures to ensure everyone is now asked how long they have been on the floor and if there are no other emergency calls to attend to officers will wait with customers until the ambulance arrives. It was not procedure at the time of Mrs C’s fall to wait with service users and we are satisfied the additional actions and procedures the Council has implemented remedies the injustice.
- We will not investigate Mr D’s complaint because we are satisfied any injustice to Mrs C has been remedied through the additional processes and procedures the Council has put in place.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman