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25% rise in complaints about home care

Rise is revealed in Local Government Ombudsman’s annual review of Adult Social Care Complaints

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The number of complaints received by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) about care provided to vulnerable people at home in England has increased by 25% over the last year.

The complaints about home care include care workers being late, missing appointments, not staying long enough and not doing what they should, including not treating people with the dignity they deserve, says the LGO’s Review of Adult Social Care Complaints 2015/16.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said: "Our complaints show that for people receiving care in their homes, it’s often the little things that mean so much to them in maintaining their dignity, independence and a good quality of life. Consistency of care is vital to those who rely on these services.

“We recognise the sector's work signposting people to us may have had an impact on the number of complaints we received. However, we are still upholding nearly two thirds of home care complaints. This is too many.”

Of those complaints the Ombudsman investigated in detail, 65% were upheld, which is 7% higher than for adult social care complaints in total.

The report also reveals those people receiving care in their own home are less likely to be supported by a representative when making a complaint than those living in residential care.

Dr Martin said: “With seemingly less access to advocacy than people in residential care, there may be further people suffering in silence at home. So we continue to encourage those providing and arranging social care to think about their own complaints procedures and ensure they are as accessible and accountable as they can be.”

During the year, the LGO received a 6% increase in complaints and enquiries about all areas of adult social care (to 2,969). It upheld 58% of all cases investigated in detail, an increase from 55% on the previous year.

The report also shows that last year there was a 21% increase in complaints and enquiries about self-funded care arranged privately with independent providers and a 19% increase in the number of independent providers about which a complaint was made.

Assessment and care planning remains the most complained about area, with 600 complaints and enquiries received. Complaints about care planning were most likely to be upheld (70%) in detailed investigations.

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