Northamptonshire CC failed to ensure a vulnerable man was protected in a care home despite previously carrying out a safeguarding investigation after a social worker raised the alarm, the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman has found.
The unnamed man’s daughter raised concerns over how her father was being treated in a care home he had moved into 18 months earlier, including staff not ensuring he was taken medication at the correct time, not removing food from his room, and leaving him with soiled sheets and without a TV remote control for four days.
Northants failed to ensure vulnerable man protected
The daughter asked Northamptonshire to review her father’s care needs and his social worker raised a safeguarding alert over a number of concerns about the quality of care at the home.
The council then launched a safeguarding investigation, leading to a protection plan being drawn up.
However, Northamptonshire failed to check that this was being implemented by the home and the man was admitted to hospital with cellulitis six months after his family first raised concerns.
In a ruling announced today, ombudsman Michael King found the council took too long to ensure the man was moved to a different room, after it was identified as having a negative impact on him, and it did not act when an email from the care home’s director cast doubt about the plan’s existence.
The investigation also found the council did not do enough to ensure the man’s care bills were being sent to the correct address which meant by the time they were received, a large invoice had built up.
Mr King said: “Councils cannot contract out responsibility for care when they contract out the provision: poor quality care by a council-funded provider is poor quality care by the council itself.
“Although the questionable care this man received from his care home was not provided by the council, Northamptonshire County Council is directly responsible for ensuring the quality of care delivered by providers acting on its behalf.
“I’m pleased that by the end of the investigation, the council had agreed to improve its policies and procedures and provide the remedy I have recommended.”
Northamptonshire has agreed to pay the daughter £250 for the “time and trouble” in bringing the complaint and the father £350 for his distress.
A county council spokesperson said: “We have accepted the findings of the ombudsman’s report and we apologise to the family for any failings on our part.
“We are also continuing to work with providers to ensure our safeguarding and protection plans are effectively implemented when concerns are raised, and to develop the skills and knowledge of our staff with ongoing training and supervision to ensure that customers and carers are fully supported and safeguarded.”