Care system comes under fire again

PUBLISHED: 10:30 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

BRILLIANT carers, shame about the system – that s the view of a user of the care company for St Albans following criticism of the treatment of an elderly woman. Jennie Page, aged 58, who lives in St Albans and relies on Supporta Care staff to visit her in

BRILLIANT carers, shame about the system - that's the view of a user of the care company for St Albans following criticism of the treatment of an elderly woman.

Jennie Page, aged 58, who lives in St Albans and relies on Supporta Care staff to visit her in the mornings, believes that the company is unable to get the fundamental infrastructure of the organisation right.

She was commenting after reading in the Herts Advertiser about Dora Elvidge, aged 92, who lives in St Albans and has suffered particular problems with Supporta Care during school holidays when her regular carers are not working.

She is unable to get out of bed on her own and needs assistance with bathing and meals. Sometimes she still in bed as late as 10.45am because no-one has arrived to help her get up.

Supporta Care took over Herts County Council's care contract for the St Albans district last April but a month later it was suspended after numerous complaints about the services it was providing.

The company has now been reinstated but Jennie, who was born with a head tumour and is now paralysed down one side, believes they struggle when staff are off sick or on holiday with additional work falling on those who are on duty.

She maintains that after Supporta Care was reinstated, the situation did improve for a short time but it was now going downhill again.

She stressed:"The carers are great and there is nothing the matter with them but if anyone becomes unwell, their system falls into disarray.

"When something goes wrong in the system through illness or holidays then more and more clients are packed into the schedules of the other carers."

She said that when her regular weekday carer was ill, she had to phone up twice to find out why no-one had come out. The delay had amounted to more than two-and-a-half hours with no-one arriving until 2.30pm.

Jennie added: "I am fairly clued up but it annoys me for people who are left unable to get out of bed or go to the loo and don't know when someone is coming.

"It is the fundamental infrastructure of the organisation which they don't seem to be able to get right."

A spokesperson for Herts County Council said they took instances of missed and late calls very seriously and expected care providers to deliver services to the highest standards.

She added: "If agencies experience staff shortages, we constantly liaise with them to help ensure satisfactory levels of cover. If people have concerns about the support they are receiving, they should take the matter up with the care agency in the first instance or contact adult care services on 01438 737400.

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