Calls for fresh investigation into care home death

First published in News

CALLS are being made for a fresh investigation into the death of a vulnerable man in a private Worcestershire care home.

The county council's Labour group is demanding an urgent probe after a damaging independent report into the failures surrounding the death of a frail 70-year-old.

The Advertiser reported last week that the pensioner died after moving to a cheaper, less suitable care home despite an advance assessment warning it would be "detrimental" to his health.

The Local Government Ombudsman has since accused the council of trying to "contract out the responsibility" for his death.

Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "If an investigation is not carried out immediately, I fear we will see further casualties of the major cutbacks which I feel are directly linked to the causes of this frail pensioner not receiving the care he should have.

"We have been warning for some time the consequences of this continued obsession with contracting out services would lead to casualties.

"Once a service is contracted out it becomes financially driven and care can become secondary - that goes for services across the board.

"The council’s first priority should be to look after those it is responsible for not to try and get care on the cheap."

The man, who cannot be named, had a history of dementia, heart problems, diabetes, strokes and epilepsy and died in January 2012.

Just two months earlier he was moved to a cheaper care home after an emergency NHS funding package stopped, and the county council took over responsibility for him.

After his death it emerged that a safeguarding investigation was never completed despite complaints from the family.

Before his move social workers assessed him and warned the move would be "detrimental" to his health.

The council has since paid the family £1,500 and says it working on an agreed plan to ensure there is not a repeat.

The request has been rejected by the Conservative leadership, which says it has already accepted an action plan for changes.

Councillor Sheila Blagg, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "We are confident the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has already closely investigated this case and we accept their findings.

"We are working on an agreed action plan to remedy the issues raised by the complaint and have apologised to the family, as well as offered them the payment recommended by the LGO.

"Procedures at the county council are currently being reviewed and will be constantly assessed to ensure similar occurrences do not happen again."

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