The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has published its annual review of adult social care complaints today.
The report identifies some emerging themes. According to the LGSCO, these themes existed before COVID-19, but have been exacerbated by the pandemic, others can be more directly attributed.
The LGSCO outlines the following emerging trends in its report:
- Delayed assessments preventing timely discharge from hospital and moves between providers.
- Poor communication between hospitals and care homes both working in crisis conditions.
- Care settings and councils being inflexible and failing to properly communicate access to and availability of services, particularly when lockdown rules changed.
- Care providers failing to manage risk appropriately, for example around the use of PPE and with symptomatic staff.
- Prolonged delays in accessing occupational therapy services and assessment and provision of aides and adaptations.
- In general, LGSCO found care homes applied visiting rules appropriately.
The Ombudsman’s Annual Review of Adult Social Care Complaints has revealed the following key findings:
- In 2020-21 the Ombudsman received 2,033 complaints and enquiries about adult social care.
- This included 270 about independent care providers, where the person arranged and paid for their own care.
- That it is investigating a greater proportion of complaints than previous years – and finding fault on average in 66% of cases.
- In some casework areas – including those about fees and charging for care – the Ombudsman has upheld nearly three-quarters of investigations (73%).
- The uphold rate has increased from 43% to 66%.
- Despite this, the volume of complaints the Ombudsman received from people who pay for their care is still lower than the LGSCO would expect.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said, ‘Viewed through the lens of complaints from the public and our impartial findings, the adult social care system is progressively failing to deliver for those who need it most.
‘Increasingly, it is a system where exceptional and sometimes unorthodox measures are being deployed simply to balance the books – a reality we see frequently pleaded in their defence by the councils and care providers we investigate. At a time of such pressure, it is now more important than ever to listen to public concerns in the form of complaints: they provide free intelligence to spot problems and drive improvement.’
Responding to the LGSCO’s annual report, Stephen Chandler, ADASS President, said, ‘Whenever older and disabled people, carers and families do not experience the high-quality care and support that they expect, it is essential that their concerns are listened to and addressed.
‘We welcome this report. The Ombudsman is right to stress the importance of learning from such cases and we support the call for greater awareness of how to express concerns.’
Visit the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman website for more report insights.
What’s your reaction to the findings? Share your opinion and views below.
In other news, The All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Social Care (APPG) has launched its report ‘A Vision For Social Care’.