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Ombudsman criticises care home for not providing records of how it spent resident’s money

The warning comes after Hamilton Care Ltd failed to provide a solicitor with relevant financial records for his client. The solicitor had been appointed to act for the woman by the court as the woman’s dementia meant she was not able to look after her finances herself.

The woman had been living in Hamilton Care’s The Lodge home in Scarborough for six years, funding her own care. The solicitor asked on 13 occasions to be provided with the records, so he could check she had paid the correct fees, but the provider failed to hand these over.

The solicitor asked the Ombudsman to investigate, and during the initial investigations, the provider failed to respond properly to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman asked the care provider to apologise to the solicitor and pay him £150, which it has done. It has still failed to provide either the solicitor or the Ombudsman with the financial records.

The Ombudsman has issued Hamilton Care Ltd with an adverse findings notice about its failure, and has shared this with the Care Quality Commission.

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

“Instances of people having no relatives to look after them in and around their home area are becoming increasingly common.

“In this case, and in others like it, court appointed deputies will step in to ensure they are treated properly. However, the provider in this case cannot prove the woman’s money was spent appropriately because it has not provided either my office or the solicitor with the proper paperwork.

“It is in both care providers’ and residents’ best interests for providers to keep accurate and contemporaneous records of finances. Doing so could, for example, protect providers from suspicions of financial impropriety and residents from risk of financial abuse.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about adult social care services in England, regardless of whether that care is paid for or arranged by a local authority or privately.

Where its finds fault that has caused injustice, the ombudsman makes recommendations to put things right for the individual, as well as recommendations to improve services for everyone. An Adverse Findings Notice is published in the very rare cases where the ombudsman is not satisfied an independent care provider has carried out its recommendations.

Article date: 31 March 2022