Ombudsman issues rare finding about Wandsworth independent care provider

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has issued a rare public notice against a Wandsworth care provider for not acting appropriately when dealing with a complaint.

Corden Assist Ltd, trading as Bluebird Care (Wandsworth), refused to comply with the Ombudsman’s recommendations to apologise to a family and pay them £200 to put right failings the Ombudsman found with the homecare it provided to their elderly relative.

The family asked the Ombudsman to investigate after they said the company charged them for care their relative did not receive for three days in September 2016.

According to the family, the carer was not able to cope with the alleged behaviour of the relative, who has dementia, and asked one of the relatives to help.

The company was not able to show adequate records to the Ombudsman that the care it charged for was provided. It also failed to record concerns expressed by the carer about his ability to deal with the relative, and family members’ concerns about the level of care provided.

Following the initial investigation in July, the Ombudsman also asked the company to waive 50% of the fees for the three-day period.

It has failed to carry out any of the recommendations, and has instead decided to pursue the family through the courts for unpaid care fees.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“We have had the ability to investigate complaints about independent care providers since 2010 and it is very rare that we issue such notices of non-compliance.

“We know that the way a care provider responds to complaints can say a lot about the culture and ethos of that company, and a mature and open attitude to those problems can be a real driver for service improvements if handled correctly.

“In this case, the care provider’s initial failure to deal with the complaint properly has been further compounded by the failure to comply with the fair and pragmatic recommendations we have made.

“I now urge the provider to think again, provide the simple remedy we have recommended, and learn from the issues raised in this complaint.”

A copy of the initial investigation, and of the Adverse Findings Notice has been shared with care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC uses the Ombudsman’s investigations to inform future inspections of care providers.

Article date: 09 January 2019

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