Chaotic elderly care but county still score highly

PUBLISHED: 09:14 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

Cllr Chris White -- concernsover service delivery

Cllr Chris White -- concernsover service delivery

DESPITE the chaos faced by elderly people earlier this year from a shake-up of care providers, Herts County Council has still received the highest ranking in new star ratings. For the second year in succession it has received three stars for its care of

DESPITE the chaos faced by elderly people earlier this year from a shake-up of care providers, Herts County Council has still received the highest ranking in new star ratings.

For the second year in succession it has received three stars for its care of older and vulnerable people in the ratings drawn up by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI)

It has been marked as good for delivering outcomes and with an excellent capacity to improve.

But earlier this year, the county council was forced to suspend Supporta Care, the company which had taken over from three different companies providing home care in the St Albans district.

They were left with no choice after scores of elderly and vulnerable people were left without vital care at weekends because of staffing problems Supporta Care faced after taking over the contract.

Similar problems were experienced in other districts including East Herts and Three Rivers where the county council also came under fire for not adequately monitoring the contract changes.

But once again it has been highly praised for its care of the elderly and vulnerable - and among the areas in which it received an "excellent" rating was in making a positive contribution to people's lives and commissioning and use of resources.

CSCI also singled out for praise the adult care services department's partnership working with health, voluntary and independent sectors.

St Albans councillor and Lib-Dem group leader on the county council, Chris White, said: "The council may be content with their stars but I am not sure residents affected in this year's chaos will see it in the same light.

"We will be writing to the Secretary of State to raise our concerns over service delivery and the reality of what is actually happening on the ground."

His Lib-Dem colleague and adult care services spokesperson, Nick Hollinghurst, said they were still fielding complaints from residents and added: "We will continue to support residents and monitor the reality."

Sally Newton, executive members for adult care and health, said: "I'm pleased that the hard work for all our staff has been recognised but there is still more to do.

"There are always ways in which services can get better and our department and its partners are committed to improving the lives of older and vulnerable people in Herts.

"This report also demonstrates that we have the capacity to put things right when problems arise."

A spokesperson for adult care services said that since the problems with Supporta Care first arose, the county council had worked in partnership with them to turn things around

He pointed out that Supporta Care had received a two-star rating from CSCI following its latest inspection.

And he added: "The mark of an effective local authority is one which can take decisive action to rectify any problems as quickly as possible. We cannot guarantee that issues will never arise but we can do our utmost to try and avoid them and when they do arise, tackle them effectively as we did in this case.


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