‘Pensioner services in Haringey in crisis and at tipping point’ activists warn

Scene from the Dispatches/The Sunday Times investigation

Scene from the Dispatches/The Sunday Times investigation - Credit: Archant

A former social care worker has spoken out following a documentary screened on Channel 4 last week.

Douglas Sager, 67, from Muswell Hill, a former Haringey Council social care worker, was part of a team reviewing people with dementia until he retired in 2014.

He started campaigning after the Haringey branch of Sevacare was rated “Inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in May 2015 and launched the activism group Social Care Alliance Haringey (SCAH.)

He found the shocking evidence of care workers clipping their visits in the Dispatches ‘Britain’s Pensioner Care Scandal’ documentary unsurprising.

He said: “These are not surprising revelations for members of SCAH – we have been raising concerns and holding meetings with our MPs Catherine West and David Lammy, and our health and wellbeing councillor, Peter Morton for over a year.

“The most recent meeting in February also included the current head of adult social care Beverly Tarka.

“We believe social care services in Haringey are in crisis and at tipping point.

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“There are people out there - they could be your grandmother, father, daughter, sister, neighbour. If they need support at home, there are people entering their homes, often to attend to their most intimate needs – and those people, and the agencies that supply them, are not being properly monitored or regulated.”

Concerns were raised in April last year, regulator confirms

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

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

The CQC inspected Sevacare Haringey in December 2014 and found it “Inadequate”, publishing their report in May 2015.

They returned to Haringey last June for a second inspection while the legal challenge was ongoing and rated the service “Requires Improvement” although they noted “the service remains unsafe.”

The CQC say Haringey Council moved some people to a new provider during this period and allowed Sevacare to continue to support individuals from its sister branch in Tower Hamlets, which was rated “Requires Improvement” last November.

Haringey Council has stopped commissioning Sevacare, following the Dispatches investigation.

But they claim they had already stopped placing new people with Sevacare after the CQC’s June inspection and had met with service users to suggest alternative providers last summer.

Sevacare claim they received a recent positive inspection from Haringey Council.

A spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed by the council’s recommendation, given that we have received a positive inspection from them in recent weeks.”