Hillingdon London Borough Council (07/A/01436) [2008]

Prior to April 2006 the complainant (D) was in receipt of an in-house home care package made up of four daily visits. D also received support from his family. From April 2006 a private care agency took over his care and, it was alleged, that the standard of care dropped such that it necessitated the family making numerous complaints to the community care worker. The council agreed in May 2006 to transfer D’s care to a different private agency and this transfer took place in June 2006. However, during the course of this month, the council failed to check the care given to D or make enquiries with the agency. Shortly after the change in provision D’s health deteriorated and he was admitted in hospital, the family attributed his worsening health to the level of care provided by the first agency. On discharge from hospital, against the wishes of D’s relatives, D was placed in a residential home where he was assessed by the council as a permanent rather than temporary resident and as a consequence excessive charges were levied.

The Ombudsman made a ruling against the Council, finding maladministration causing injustice and recommended that it improve the monitoring of home care packages, improve the assessments carried out on those being discharged from hospital and refund the excessive charges (amounting to £11,800.64) levied on D and pay compensation to D of £800 for the inconvenience and distress caused and to D’s daughter-in-law for her time pursuing the complaint.

Comments

  1. In the Disability Rights Handbook this case is cited, but only vaguely despite its impact on care and support plans. The finding is summarised in one quote “Councils have no right to disregard a client’s wishes in this manner” but it does not say whether the client is deemed to be the person in care, or his family.
    Furthermore it does not say whether the person, to whom the care and support plan applied had mental capacity to make any decision regarding his/her own care.

    I believe this case may have been misinterpreted by local councils and care providers and used to return subjects of care and support plans back home from respite or long term placements (despite them lacking mental capacity to make decisions about their own care) merely because they say they don’t wish to stay in that placement.

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