London Borough of Bromley (08 019 214)

Category : Adult care services > Residential care

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 09 Jun 2011

Summary

The Ombudsman issued a report criticising the London Borough of Bromley for its delay in reviewing the care of an elderly man which was “extraordinary and inexcusable”.

The complaint

The Ombudsman issued a report criticising the London Borough of Bromley for its delay in reviewing the care of an elderly man which was “extraordinary and inexcusable”. In her report she says he was living in unsatisfactory conditions at a care home arranged by the Council and receiving an inadequate standard of care for a considerable period of time, perhaps as long as 18 months.

The Ombudsman said there appeared to be no doubt that care standards at the care home were unsatisfactory. A series of poor inspection reports should have put the Council on alert to monitor the contract more closely, but it did not do so and nor did it ask Kent County Council, in whose area the care home was situated, to assist.

‘Mr A’ complained that residential care, arranged by the Council for his father, ‘Mr B’, in a care home out of its own area, was unsatisfactory and led to a deterioration in Mr B’s health until he was moved to another care home about two years later.

After Mr A complained formally to the Council about the standard of care his father was receiving, it appeared only to deal with the matters of fees and finance, and did not properly address the issues Mr A was raising. Later, the Council’s own investigation confirmed it had failed to ensure that Mr B received adequate care.

The Ombudsman says: “Overall, the Council’s failure through the complaint process to accept responsibility for what has happened to Mr B amounts to further maladministration which compounds its earlier faults, and has added to the injustice Mr B and his family have been caused.”

The Ombudsman found that the Council failed to review the care placement and provision for 20 months, delayed in properly investigating the complaint, and refused to accept that it should be responsible for any shortfall in care standards.

Recommendations

She recommends that the Council should:

  • pay £1,000 to Mr B in recognition of the fact that his care is likely, on balance, to have been less than adequate, in addition to its agreement to write off £2,000 owing to the Council
  • pay £1,000 to Mr A in recognition of his separate injustice of uncertainty, distress, time and trouble
  • review its procedures for reviewing and monitoring care home placements
  • review its accounting procedures
  • review its complaints procedures so that the extraordinary and inexcusable delays seen in this case are avoided in future, and
  • report to the Ombudsman in six months the outcome of its procedures review.

For legal reasons, real names are not given in the Ombudsman’s report.

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