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Ombudsman raps council for care funding bungle

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Worcestershire Country Council has been rapped by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman after ending payments of a vulnerable dementia patient’s care.

Following an assessment, the council was found to have wrongly concluded that the woman, who had no-one to manage her finances, was able to pay for her care.

As a result of the council’s decision, the woman’s family was left with a bill for thousands of pounds, which her nursing home could not prove it had provided.

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Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “Worcestershire County Council remained responsible for this woman’s care throughout her time at the care home. Neither the woman nor her family were in any position to arrange her care for her, and were certainly in no position to pay for it.

“Had social workers assessed her needs properly from the outset, much of the distress caused to the family could have been avoided. Instead the council left the woman and her family to deal with the care home alone.

“I am pleased the council has agreed with my recommendations and now urge it to learn from this case to ensure others are not similarly affected.”

Worcestershire Council agreed to pay the woman’s son £1,000 in compensation.

Sander Kristel, Director of Adult Services, said: “We apologise to the family for the distress that has been caused.

“We provide care to around 6,000 individuals who are some of the most vulnerable people in society and we pride ourselves on the high quality service that is provided. Worcestershire’s care providers are amongst the best in the country, according to the Care Quality Commission.

“Unfortunately on this occasion however the care that was provided fell short of our own high expectations and we deeply regret this.

“The council fully accepts the recommendations in the report and are taking the appropriate steps to carry out the actions in the report within the timescales set.”

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The author Lee Peart

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