Get-out clause

PUBLISHED: 11:32 05 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010

SIR, — I was interested to read the front page story (Herts Advertiser, May 29) referring to the inadequate home care from the new company contracted by Herts County Council (HCC). Two people I know were left in their beds last weekend for nearly 21 hours

SIR, - I was interested to read the front page story (Herts Advertiser, May 29) referring to the inadequate home care from the new company contracted by Herts County Council (HCC). Two people I know were left in their beds last weekend for nearly 21 hours when carers failed to appear.

To be fair, following complaints to the managing director who dealt personally with the issue, they have received flowers and an apology from the company together with an assurance that this will not happen again. While this incident would appear to have been resolved, I have written because the wording of the article in last week's paper left the impression that theirs was a solitary case.

It cannot be right that despite undergoing a nine-month tendering period paid for by local council tax payers, HCC Adult Care Services award a contract to a company that within a matter of weeks seems to be lacking in local management and resources leaving vulnerable elderly people without water, food or personal hygiene for prolonged periods. I understand that in the process, some amazing carers have turned into disgruntled staff and have jumped ship.

In your story, a spokesperson for HCC's Adult Care Services mentioned that "Supporta Care have told HCC they have contacted the 'service user' to apologise and have given assurances to both us and the service user that this will not happen again". However, there are now at least four cases that are public knowledge and my worry is for the elderly clients who have no one to speak for them, many living alone. How many have sat in their soiled or wet pads with no food drink or human contact, that no one knows about?

Cost-cutting exercises are necessary when there are overall budget reductions but the consequential neglect of elderly people as described in last week's paper is unacceptable. It is vital that HCC Adult Care Services learn the difference between "cheapest" and '"value for money" and for the sake of those left in their beds, let's all hope there is a get-out-of-jail clause in this seven-year contract if standards fail to improve.

BONNIE WILLIAMS,

The Drive, Blackmore End.

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