Mid Wales

Powys home care revamp 'lessons to be learnt'

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Media captionPeople receiving home care have been promised better communication by Powys council

A shake-up of home care services in Powys ran into difficulty because of problems including poor communication and staffing issues, a review says.

Complaints of neglect came after Powys council cut its list of around 20 providers to four in April and May.

Montgomeryshire AM Russell George branded the reorganisation "shambolic".

The independent review found a range of problems, while the council said there were "lessons to be learnt" and changes were under way.

Mr George told BBC Wales in September he had received dozens of complaints about missed visits and the quality of care following the reorganisation.

One company pulled out of its contract ahead of a critical report which found it had breached care regulations.

Under pressure

The council ordered an independent review from the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University, which found a range of problems including:

  • Pressure to cut costs worked against careful decision-making
  • Desire to encourage local care providers despite some reluctance to take on "problematic" or geographically remote cases
  • Changes in senior managers involved in the process
  • Lack of consultation with carers, service users or providers
  • Lack of training
  • Lack of expertise in commissioning
  • Many care plans out of date and delivered late to new providers

The review team made several recommendations to improve the commissioning process, including measures to assess the performance of providers as well as user needs and available resources.

The council said it accepted the recommendations, adding that work was already under way to improve the provision of home care, retain staff and keep people informed about changes.

Councillor Darren Mayor, cabinet member for adult services, said: "We recognise that there are lessons to be learnt in what has been one of the largest transformational changes the council has undertaken.

"This report is an essential part of our learning process as we strive to make improvements through different service delivery models.

"We will be acting on the recommendations in order to improve the way we commission service changes."

The council cabinet will consider the report at a meeting on Tuesday.

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