Mid Wales

Powys home care revamp 'created more problems than it solved'

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Media captionHeidi Rhiann says the care plan for her mother Sheila stayed the same despite a broken hip and foot

The reorganisation of home care in Powys has gone so badly that it has created problems rather than solved them, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has said.

One of four companies chosen to deliver care later withdrew from the contract ahead of a report which found it had breached 14 care regulations.

Kirsty Williams AM said Powys council was responsible for the problems.

But the council said issues in pockets of the county had been addressed.

However Ms Williams is concerned the council will now struggle to meet additional pressures created by forthcoming social services legislation that was recently passed by the assembly.

In April this year, the council reduced the number of home care providers from more than 20 to just four.

In September, one of the companies, Reach, withdrew from the contract ahead of the publication of a critical report from Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) which found the company had been responsible for breaches of care regulations.

Following the report, the council said Reach's clients had been transferred to another company and that they were confident that the problems had been sorted out.

Ongoing problems - case study

Sheila Davies from Welshpool was assessed by Powys social services in April, and was given a plan allowing for twice-daily visits to help her shower, clean her home and remind her to take medication.

She had a serious fall in September but her care plan was not rewritten when she was discharged from hospital.

Her daughter Heidi Rhiann said: "None of her new needs are written in. So now whilst mum was recovering from the broken pelvis, she's been having to use a Zimmer frame. She can't wash on her own.

"Now it's a completely different ball game when someone's fallen and broken themselves so much."

"I think my mum has been annoyed by it all," she added. "I think she's angered; she feels she doesn't need the care if this is the standard of care she's getting. Why should she and the council fund poor care?"

Mrs Davies' care is now provided by a different company and the council said it did everything it could to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Unprecedented response

Ms Williams, the Brecon and Radnor AM, called the state of domiciliary care in Powys serious.

"In my 15 years, I've never had the experience of a consultant from a hospital writing to me or the local medical committee writing to me to say: 'Please is there anything you can do to resolve this situation?' It's unprecedented," she said.

"I think we're going to see an increase in demand in Powys rather than less, and in a system that already can't cope."

Councillor Darren Mayor, the cabinet member for adult social care at Powys council, disputed Ms Williams' claims and insisted that for many parts of Powys the transition for adult social care had gone smoothly.

"I think Kirsty should know herself, since they (the Liberal Democrats) voted and supported the budget cuts that we've received, that she knows the challenge that we face in Powys."

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