Care UK sorry for letting down a highly-vulnerable OAP

The Trunch pensioner at home with her North Norfolk District Council representative, Graham Jones, w

The Trunch pensioner at home with her North Norfolk District Council representative, Graham Jones, who has also been intervening with Care UK and is working to get better care for those in need. Photo: Antony Kelly. - Credit: Archant

An under-fire care company has apologised after admitting that it has let down a highly-vulnerable female pensioner in north Norfolk.

Care UK left the woman, who was born without legs, soiled and hungry after failing to send a carer to her one morning last week.

When a carer arrived later to give the woman lunch, she told the pensioner that it was not her job to change and shower her, according to David Wild, a friend and fellow Trunch resident.

'She called me at 5.30pm in tears. She was sitting in a soiled pad,' said Mr Wild.

'This sort of thing is happening time and time again – at least once a week. We have phoned them so many times, but nothing changes.'

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Care UK had also sent male carers to the woman's home on more than one occasion, despite her insisting that she did not want men to give her personal care, said Mr Wild.

Last week, Care UK and Norfolk County Council mutually agreed to end their contracts in Broadland after a re-emergence of complaints about missed homecare calls in the district.

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Donna Cousins, director of quality and governance for Care UK Community Services, said at the time that giving up Broadland would enable the firm to focus on ensuring a high quality of care to people 'in the other areas of Norfolk'.

Talking about the Trunch woman, Ms Cousins said Care UK had taken complaints very seriously and had done its best to deliver good support and provide female care workers.

She added: 'However, on occasions, due to staffing issues in this very rural area, we accept that the service has fallen below the standard we expect and for this we offer our sincere apologies.'

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who has contacted Care UK on the woman's behalf in the past, said big agencies needed to 'shape up'. He added: 'They wanted and took the responsibility and they need to demonstrate that they can meet the need.' Mr Lamb cited the example of the not-for-profit organisation Breckland Care At Home as a 'fantastic example' and model for home care which could be a potential answer to problems elsewhere in Norfolk.

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