Care provider refuses to apologise to family after being found at fault

A care provider has refused to apologise to a family for providing poor quality care because it was the late owner’s dying wish not to do so.

03/02/22

Care provider refuses to apologise to family after being found at fault

A care provider from Wembley has refused to apologise after being found at fault for a second time by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO).

Peepal Care Ltd had been found at fault and has decided not to comply with the Ombudsman’s recommendations. This has led to the Ombudsman issuing what it called an ‘extremely rare’ Adverse Findings Notice against the company for the second time.

The care provider is the only domiciliary care provider in England to have received two such notices.

The notice was issued after the company was contracted to provide care for a woman in her home after she had a stroke. Crucially, the woman needed hoists to help her, but none of the four care workers the company sent over the six-day period had experience in using hoists safely.

One of the care workers had no training at all and did not have the right to work in the country.

The family complained to the Ombudsman about the poor quality of staff Peepal Care provided, and that the company only gave them a day’s notice before pulling out of the contract – leaving them having to find an urgent alternative.

The Ombudsman upheld the family’s complaint and made recommendations to put things right for the family and improve its services for others.

However, the provider has declined to comply with the Ombudsman’s recommendations because it said it was treated unfairly during the investigation and that it was the late owner’s dying wish not to do so. It also argues it would show culpability to the family and leave it open to further claims.

The Adverse Findings Notice issued by the Ombudsman disputes this, though, stating: “We are satisfied that we treated them fairly throughout the investigation and we do not accept the arguments it has put forward as to why it has not implemented our recommendations.”

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said that it was “frankly unheard of” for an organisation to use such an “irrational” excuse as a reason not to comply with its recommendations.

“That this is the only home care provider in England to have received two Adverse Findings Notices highlights just how much of an outlier this type of action is,” King added.

“The disdain it has shown towards our investigation, not to mention the family’s concerns, reflects poorly on Peepal Care.

“Our investigations, and how companies respond when we ask them to put things right, give families valuable information about who to choose when considering who to employ to look after their loved ones.”

Peepal Care’s website says it “pioneers flexible home care services for elderly people requiring support to continue living in the comfort of their own homes.”

Starting in 2012 as a small father-daughter team, it says the provider has “flourished” into a company “known for its genuinely caring attitude and tailored support which can transform lives for the better.”

Its latest inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which took place in May 2021, found it to be ‘Good’ in all areas.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman says its role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case, it says the provider should apologise to the family and pay them £400 to acknowledge its failings and the time and trouble and distress stemming from the complaint. It should also reduce the outstanding invoice by half for failing to provide the expected level of service.

The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. In this case the provider should show the Ombudsman it has put procedures in place to recruit and vet all care workers properly. It should also ensure all care workers are properly trained before starting duties or are supervised till training is complete. It should ensure care records are completed and stored in accordance with CQC guidelines and undertake training on data protection.

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