Westminster adult social care rated worst in the country

Adult social care in Westminster has been ranked the worst in the country amid reports of “widespread bad practice” in the borough.

The national NHS-run Adult Social Care Survey (ASCS), which collates information from people receiving social care, rates Westminster lower than any other local authority in England.

The survey results come as a local independent monitoring group has reported “widespread bad practice” in Westminster.

Criticising the council’s investigations into social care home visits, the Westminster LINk Social Care Working Group said: “We were struck by the fact that these reports almost never identified the bad practice which we know to exist.”

The document, seen by the Wood&Vale this week, says the council’s “failure to identify bad carer practice” is due to its assessments which “cannot be regarded as fair”.

Westminster opposition adult social care spokesman, Cllr Adam Hug, said: “People are noticing lower standards which is deeply worrying given that Westminster always used to be rated quite highly.

“The service users at the moment, both from the ASCS and the LINk report, are raising significant concerns over the current state of adult social care.

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“The council is trying to make improvements but there are considerable problems that they have got to overcome. It is worrying that it has got to this stage.”

Church Street resident Ash Naghouni, 42, who has been in a wheelchair for almost 20 years, says he has noticed a decline in his social care.

He said: “The attitude before last year was how the council could help you to become more independent and contribute to society.

“Since last year it’s been as if I’m not important any more. All they are talking about is ways to cut down my care package to see how much money they can save.”

Westminster health boss Cllr Daniel Astaire said the council is “not complacent” and is “working hard to address issues raised by the survey”.

He said: “We have recently introduced our Adult Social Care Mandate which, rather than receiving a blanket one-size-fits-all approach, provides personal budgets to ensure those requiring longer term care can take as much control over their lives as their needs allow.”

He added: “We are also preparing to undertake a follow-up [survey] in which we expect to see a rise in the level of satisfaction caused by the roll out of the personalised budgets.”