Shropshire Council has been ordered to pay compensation to a “vulnerable, elderly woman” who was wrongly left without care for 24 hours.
The error was made by an agency contracted by the council to provide care for the woman when her daughter, her usual carer, was not at home. The agreed package included one overnight stay per month.
But when the woman’s daughter returned from an overnight trip on May 1, 2019 she found that no carer had stayed over or visited her mother that day, despite arrangements being made weeks in advance with the care agency.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has now ruled the agency was at fault for failing to provide the agreed care.
The report said care was arranged for the woman, named only as Mrs G, by her daughter, named as Miss F, in an email exchange with the provider between April 15 and 17, last year.
But the provider claimed the woman had been told in a phone call on April 17 that the requested overnight stay would not be possible. The report said Miss F denied speaking to anyone from the agency on the phone that day, and this was corroborated by phone logs. The ombudsman concluded that on the balance of probabilities the phone call had not happened.
Miss F left the house on the morning of April 30 and returned at 5pm the following day. She checked her mother’s notes and found a carer had visited during the day on April 30 but had not stayed overnight, and no carer had visited on May 1.
The ombudsman concluded: “The evidence suggests the care agency failed to provide Mrs G with the agreed care from 5pm on 30 April to 5pm on May 1. This is fault.
“This meant Mrs G was left without food, medication or support for around 24 hours. This caused both Mrs G and Miss F significant distress.”
The ombudsman ordered the council, which had overall responsibility for the woman’s care, to pay £100 each to the woman and her daughter in recognition of the distress they had been caused. The council must also write a letter of apology to the woman’s daughter.