‘He deserved better in his final years’ - Apology after man and his carer failed

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich - Credit: Archant

A watchdog has criticised council bosses for failing to provide enough care for a man or properly support his elderly carer.

A report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found Norfolk County Council failed over the care of a Mr Y and Ms X.

Mr Y, who had dementia and a number of physical health needs, was supported by his friend, known as Ms X, who acted as his personal assistant.

Ms X said she was happy to provide some care for her friend, but repeatedly told social workers she could not do it alone.

Mr Y, who has since died, had been assessed several times since September 2018, with a new plan agreed in January 2019.

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The council said the man needed a significant amount of support, but could not decide how that care should be provided.

In February 2019 Ms X was told the plan had been declined 'due to the very high cost of the proposal'.

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The next month Mr Y was taken to hospital after a fall and discharged with no formal care package in place. At the time, Ms X's personal assistant hours had been reduced, despite pleas it should not be implemented until other support was in place.

She resigned as Mr Y's personal assistant in April and the council offered residential care, but it was refused.

The ombudsman said the council continually made assumptions about what care and support would be provide.

Following the ruling, the council agreed to pay the woman £2,000 and will also refund the man's estate the expense of funding his own eligible care needs - estimated at around £4,000.

Craig Chalmers, director of social work for the council, said: "Mr Y lived with a complex set of needs, requiring support from both our services and our NHS partners, and he absolutely deserved better in his final years. While we were able to offer residential care, we were not able to provide a care package that met all of Mr Y's needs."

He said the council has written to Ms X to apologise and have offered to meet her to assure her concerns are being addressed.

He added: "We have carried out a number of changes since the failures this report highlights, and continue to ensure the lessons learned are put into practice."

The changes will be put before cabinet members at a later date.

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