A London care provider has been issued with a rare public notice by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for failing to act appropriately when dealing with a complaint.
In the notice published this week, the Ombudsman states that Corden Assist, trading as Bluebird Care (Wandsworth), refused to comply with its recommendations to apologise to a family, and pay them £200 to put right failings that inspectors found with the homecare it provided.
The family asked the Ombudsman to investigate after they said the company charged them for care their relative did not receive for three days in September 2016.
According to the family, the carer was not able to cope with the alleged behaviour of the relative, who has dementia, and asked one of the relatives to help.
The Ombudsman’s notice states that Bluebird Care (Wandsworth) failed to show adequate records that the care it charged for was provided.
It also failed to record concerns expressed by the carer about his ability to deal with the relative, and family members’ concerns about the level of care provided, the notice continues.
But instead, the company has decided to pursue the family through the courts for unpaid care fees, according to the Ombudsman.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “We have had the ability to investigate complaints about independent care providers since 2010 and it is very rare that we issue such notices of non-compliance.
“We know that the way a care provider responds to complaints can say a lot about the culture and ethos of that company, and a mature and open attitude to those problems can be a real driver for service improvements if handled correctly.
“In this case, the care provider’s initial failure to deal with the complaint properly has been further compounded by the failure to comply with the fair and pragmatic recommendations we have made.
“I now urge the provider to think again, provide the simple remedy we have recommended, and learn from the issues raised in this complaint.”
When contacted by Home Care Insight, a spokesperson for Bluebird Care said: “Due to an ongoing legal process, we are unable to comment further on the case, at this time.”
A copy of the initial investigation, and of the Adverse Findings Notice has been shared with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC uses the Ombudsman’s investigations to inform future inspections of care providers.