Care package means stranded hospital patient can go home

PUBLISHED: 16:12 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

Mr and Mrs Surridge at home with last week's Herts Advertiser which highlighted their plight

Mr and Mrs Surridge at home with last week's Herts Advertiser which highlighted their plight

AN ELDERLY woman who because of a lack of carers was stuck in hospital for nearly a month after being declared fit to leave, is finally home. But Donald Surridge said his wife Pamela, aged 89, would still be stranded at St Albans City Hospital had it not

AN ELDERLY woman who because of a lack of carers was stuck in hospital for nearly a month after being declared fit to leave, is finally home.

But Donald Surridge said his wife Pamela, aged 89, would still be stranded at St Albans City Hospital had it not been for the help in highlighting their plight from the Herts Advertiser and local MP Anne Main.

Mrs Surridge has been just one victim of Herts County Council's troubled homecare contract for the district with Supporta Care which has now been suspended until problems with the service highlighted in this newspaper are resolved.

Having left hospital on Monday, she is now under the care of Sage Care - one of the previous care providers from which Supporta Care took over in April after Herts County Council (HCC) put the contract out to tender.

Mrs Surridge, of Napsbury Avenue, London Colney, lost one leg at the age of 17 and was admitted to hospital around seven months ago after breaking the other when she fell out of her wheelchair.

Although she was fit to return home early last month, she was told by HCC that she had to remain in hospital because there were no carers available to look after her.

The NHS fined HCC £120 a day during the debacle because of anti bed-blocking laws.

Mr Surridge, aged 82, is unable to care for his wife alone because she will require hoisting into bed and his mobility is restricted as a result of a serious case of viral pneumonia in 2005.

After reading about Mrs Surridge's plight in last week's Herts Advertiser, St Albans MP Anne Main also piled on the pressure on HCC and they arranged a care package for her on Friday.

Speaking this week, Mrs Main said she was "really worried" about Supporta Care's seven-year contract to provide care to elderly and vulnerable people in the St Albans district.

Although pleased that Mrs Surridge was finally given the care package she deserved, she said she was concerned for other elderly and disabled people "caught up in the mess of the current care service provision".

St Albans county councillor Chris White is calling for a full inquiry into the contracts with Supporta Care in St Albans and Three Rivers and another company CareUK which has also been suspended in the north and east of the county.

He added: "The council's tendering process should have checked that these companies could cope with service delivery. Clearly this process failed.

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