Muswell Hill pensioner “devastated” to see evidence of failings in vulnerable adult care

Lourdes Keever, a member of the Social Care Alliance Haringey, far right. Photo: Polly Hancock

Lourdes Keever, a member of the Social Care Alliance Haringey, far right. Photo: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Lourdes Keever believes her parents were badly let down and has spoken out after new figures reveal less than one third of safeguarding alerts concerning vulnerable adults were investigated by Haringey Council last year.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal around 40 per cent of people receiving support had their service reviewed by the council in April to December last year – compared to 80 per cent of cases in the 2011/2012 financial year.

Ms Keever, 67, followed the wishes of her elderly mother and father to stay living at home, and commissioned agency London Care through Haringey Council in 2008 to 2011.

Her father was wheelchair-bound following an accident and her mother had vascular dementia.

She claims her parents ate breakfast with a care worker while there was still diarrhoea on the floor in 2011.

And a London Care worker washed both her parents intimately and then did the washing-up in the same rubber gloves, as witnessed by staff from another agency.

She said that a London Care worker revealed to her alarmed parents that she did not have the correct legal documents to be in the country.

Most Read

Ms Keever was upset to see Haringey Sevacare workers falsifying their time sheets and “clipping” their hours in a Dispatches and The Sunday Times investigation screened last week.

Ms Keever said: “I’m just in some ways devastated that this is still going on because I went out of my way to complain about the care - I did not think there would be another case.”

She added: “I naively thought things would have changed... I wanted to think that everything I knew about my parents’ [care] was pre-2011 and things had improved.”

Ms Keever says she complained several times to Haringey Council and London Care between 2008 and 2011.

She took matters into her own hands and commissioned a different agency in 2011.

She is happy with the care they provided and said her parents died peacefully in 2013 and 2014.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “We are working hard to ensure our residents are provided with the best possible care, working closely with the Care Quality Commission and our care providers to raise standards.

Where we encounter poor practice we take decisive action, as was shown recently with the case regarding Sevacare.”

“In relation to London Care we stopped placing people with this provider in April 2012 until we were satisfied that standards had improved in 2014.”

A spokesman for London Care said: “London Care is dedicated to providing top level, professional home care, and we take the safety and welfare of those who use our services very seriously.

“Our carers go through a rigorous training programme to ensure they develop the appropriate skills and abilities needed to provide care and we expect them to uphold these high standards.”

A former Haringey Council care worker fears the current system is “open to abuse”.

Douglas Sager, 67, who founded campaign group Social Care Alliance Haringey (SCAH) last year, reviewed patients suffering from dementia until he retired in December 2014.

He is concerned about the sheer number of private care agencies and how they are being monitored by the council.

There were 51 private home care agencies as of December 2015.

And he fears in-house council social workers are struggling to keep up with their work load.

“Who is monitoring these agencies? It’s very serious - it’s so open to abuse that it defies belief.”

“I’m very concerned. I’m not going to stop fighting for older and disabled people to have support.

“I left Haringey Council at a point where it was becoming very difficult for staff in terms of work load...

“There are lots of good people working in Haringey Council social services who are struggling to keep up with the pressure and work they have at the moment.”

“It’s disgraceful that in this day and age the most vulnerable people in our society are being treated abysmally.”

Mr Sager’s comments follow Haringey Council’s decision to sever ties with a care company following an undercover investigation which revealed carers had lied about the length of their home visits.

A Channel 4 reporter filmed Sevacare staff – paid by Haringey Council to look after elderly residents – falsifying logs and admitting they played on Facebook while caring for vulnerable residents.

Haringey Council said it was “extremely disappointed” with the service provided by Sevacare in Haringey.

The company was looking after more than 180 adults across the borough, but the council said it advised people to use other providers after Sevacare received an “Inadequate” rating in May 2015.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care services, tried to close the Haringey branch of Sevacare in April last year.

They finally succeeded in closing the premises on March 31 after a protracted legal battle.

Haringey Council said it has stopped paying Sevacare and now advises all clients not to use the company.