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Ombudsman sees 25% increase in complaints about home care for vulnerable

The Local Government Ombudsman has seen a 25% increase in complaints about home care for vulnerable people in England.

Its Review of Adult Social Care Complaints 2015-16, said problems included care workers being late for or missing appointments, not staying long enough and not treating people with dignity.

Among complaints that merited detailed investigation, 65% were upheld.

Ombudsman Jane Martin said: ”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.

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“With seemingly less access to advocacy than people in residential care, there may be further people suffering in silence at home.”

Her comments came after the King’s Fund think tank warned of an increased risk of legal challenges over social care provision.

The Ombudsman saw a 6% increase in complaints and enquiries about all areas of adult social care over the year, taking these to 2,969.

It upheld 58% of all cases investigated in detail, up from 55% the previous year.

There were also a 21% increase in complaints and enquiries about self-funded care, and a 19% increase in complaints about independent providers.

The most significant area in which complaints were upheld was care planning – 70% in all. This was also the most complained-about service, at 600 cases.

Mark Smulian

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