Norfolk council: Care services 'left friend' to look after elderly man

Norfolk County Council HQ Image copyright Norfolk County Council
Image caption Norfolk County Council has apologised to the woman, known as Ms X

A local authority has been criticised for failing to provide "appropriate care" for an elderly man whose friend was left to look after him.

The Local Government Ombudsman found Norfolk County Council failed to provide the necessary support for the man, Mr Y, and his friend Ms X.

The ombudsman found fault with the council which had agreed to pay £2,000 in compensation to Ms X.

The council said it had apologised to Ms X.

The ombudsman's report on the complaint from Ms X had said she was happy to provide some care for her friend, who had dementia and a number of physical health conditions, but repeatedly told social workers she could not do it alone.

'Clearly vulnerable'

The council, which had provided a certain amount of care, assessed the man as needing a significant amount of support, but could not decide how that care should be provided.

"This man was clearly vulnerable and had numerous assessed care and support needs, yet Norfolk council did not meet them," said Michael King, the ombudsman.

"The council continually questioned the cost of providing the care package in his own home, where he wanted to remain, without proposing suitable alternatives.

"All this left the man's friend feeling she had no option but to provide more hours of care for him than she wanted to, or was being paid for, and this placed a significant strain on their relationship."

The council will also refund the man's estate the expense of funding his own eligible care needs, estimated at about £4,000.

The council's director of social work, Craig Chalmers, said: "We have written to Ms X to sincerely apologise for the additional stress placed up her during a difficult time, and I have offered to meet with her in person to apologise and assure her that the concerns she highlighted are being addressed."

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