Sunday 18 August 2019
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Wirral Council left 'vulnerable man at risk of harm' for 18 months

A council's safeguarding failures left a "vulnerable" man at "significant risk" for 18 months, a report has said.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found Wirral Council failed "to comply with its own procedures" with regards to the man, who had significant mobility difficulties.

It found care workers cut short visits and failed to administer medicine, increasing his chances of seizures.

Offering apologies, the council said it "accepted the findings of the report".

The ombudsman's report said the man received daily visits to complete living tasks from agency care workers arranged by Wirral Council.

'Significantly improved'

It said his son, who lived 200 miles away, raised concerns over his care and reported an incident in August 2016 where he was not being strapped into his wheelchair properly leaving him at risk of falling.

The ombudsman found that because care visits were cut short and workers were not trained properly, he had been placed at a "significant and avoidable risk of harm over at least 18 months".

The report also criticised the council for its handling of the son's complaint, the decision to close a safeguarding investigation without completing it and for "failing to comply with its own procedures".

The ombudsman Michael King said the man, who has since died, was "left at risk for far too long" and made a number of recommendations with the aim of improving procedures "to prevent instances such as this from happening to others".

These included instituting safeguarding training for staff, an action plan for handling complaints and a procedure for referring cases to the safeguarding board for review.

A council spokesman said the authority was implementing all the ombudsman's recommendations, adding it had "significantly improved" domiciliary care and the handling of complaints.