Uncared-for elderly criticise service

PUBLISHED: 14:40 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 06 May 2010

FRAIL elderly people have been going without vital visits from carers at the weekends since Herts County Council employed a different care provider. The home-care contract for St Albans was previously shared between Sage, MPM and Goldsborough Home Care b

FRAIL elderly people have been going without vital visits from carers at the weekends since Herts County Council employed a different care provider.

The home-care contract for St Albans was previously shared between Sage, MPM and Goldsborough Home Care but Supporta Care was contracted to take over at the beginning of April.

Since then, a 76-year-old emphysema sufferer claims that there has been uncertainty over whether he and others will be visited by a carer at the weekends.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, also said that he went without any visits at all for two Sundays running and believes he is not alone.

He praised the efforts of his regular carer who visits him twice a day Monday to Saturday but strongly criticised the weekend service.

He said: "It beggars belief - they are supposed to supply care and they don't. They are very complacent and inexperienced, and they are certainly lacking in TLC. And they never return your calls."

The man said that he was fortunate enough to be able to move about a small amount but said some people he knew could not even so much as get out of bed or even go to the toilet without a carer.

He also claimed that some people who had to pay for the service were going back to previous care providers.

Another elderly woman from St Albans, aged 82, reported similar problems and said she has been told by the carers that they had not been paid.

Supporta Care operations manager Darren Stapleberg admitted that they had found problems finding relief carers at the weekends to match the time expectations of their patients but he gave an assurance that the issue was being resolved.

He denied that staff had not been paid but admitted some problems occurred during the transitional period for staff changing over from employment with the previous providers to Supporta Care.

Supporta Care has a seven-year contract with the county council as a result of a nine-month retendering process. Care staff working for companies which were not selected were able to transfer to them if they wished.

A spokesperson for Herts County Council's Adult Care Services said this week: "We are aware of the arrangements and have been in touch with Supporta Care which have told us 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.

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