Trapped in hospital because of a lack of carers
AN ELDERLY woman has been stuck in hospital for three weeks despite being fit to return home because there are no carers available. Pamela Surridge, aged 89, is just one of the victims of the failure of the council s homecare contract for the St Albans di
AN ELDERLY woman has been stuck in hospital for three weeks despite being fit to return home because there are no carers available.
Pamela Surridge, aged 89, is just one of the victims of the failure of the council's homecare contract for the St Albans district with Supporta Care which has now been suspended.
And not only is she still in St Albans City Hospital despite being told early last month that she would be able to return home but her sojourn there is costing Herts County Council £120 a day in penalty charges.
Mrs Surridge's plight and that of numerous other needy people came to light after the Herts Advertiser revealed last week that frail elderly people were going without vital visits from carers at weekends since Supporta Care took over the running of the service at the beginning of April.
Mrs Surridge lost her right leg when she was 17 and has been in St Albans City Hospital for around seven months after breaking the other leg when she fell out of her wheelchair.
Doctors told her early last month that she could return home to her husband Donald in Napsbury Avenue, London Colney, but since then the couple have been repeatedly let down because there are no carers available.
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This week the county council confirmed that that they have stopped allocating any more work to Supporta Care because of mounting problems with the service in the St Albans district and nearby Three Rivers.
They have also been landed with a £120-a day-fine from the NHS because Mrs Surridge's enforced stay in hospital is contravening anti bed-blocking laws.
Mrs Surridge had hoped to leave hospital last Friday, which was also her birthday, but had her hopes dashed at the last minute.
Her husband of 58 years is unable to care for her 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.
Mr Surridge, aged 82, said his wife, with whom he has a son, is desperate to leave because she is so fed up with lying in bed or sitting in her wheelchair.
He said: "They don't care about the old people. I fought in the last war and what are we getting - nothing. It's a terrible way to treat old people."
He has been told that a carer could be available this week but after so many let-downs, he is not banking on anything.
But he commended the care his wife has received in hospital and the support from GPs at the Midway doctors' surgery.
A spokesperson for Adult Care Services at the county confirmed that in light of a number of complaints about Supporta Care they were not allocating any more patients to them.
The contract had been suspended for 28 days and they were looking to other agencies for support in the meantime. He admitted: "The ways things have panned out is not what we would have expected when we signed the contract."
Although he was unable to comment on individual cases, the spokesperson said the county council would be looking for alternative arrangements with other care providers for people who were ready to leave hospital and needed care.
The elderly who have been let down - page 3.