Pensioners abandoned in Haringey care scandal

Care workers arrived late. Photo: Dispatches

Care workers arrived late. Photo: Dispatches - Credit: Archant

Haringey Council is severing ties with a care company after an undercover investigation revealed carers were lying about the length of their home visits.

In a documentary screened on Channel 4 last night, a member of staff at Sevacare – which is paid by Haringey Council to look after frail and elderly residents – was seen boasting that they play on Facebook during visits.

A staff member was also filmed falsifying logs, and an undercover reporter said only two of 16 home visits lasted as long as they should.

A statement from Haringey said it was “extremely disappointed” with Sevacare after the investigation by The Sunday Times and Dispatches.

The company looks after more than 180 vulnerable adults across the borough, but the council said it has previously advised people to use other companies amid concerns about the service.

The reporter applied for a job as a carer with the Haringey branch of Sevacare, and was allowed to shadow senior carers on 16 occasions after just three days’ classroom training.

Only two of these visits lasted as long as they were supposed to and the logs were falsified to make it seem as though the carer had stayed the full time, according to the investigation.

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

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “We were extremely disappointed to learn of practices at Sevacare, a home care provider, which fall well-below the high standards we expect in Haringey.

“We have previously raised serious concerns about this agency to the Care Quality Commission which led to them carrying out a formal inspection.

“Following that investigation we stopped placing people with Sevacare and met with all those who were already receiving services from them, explaining our concerns and giving them the option to switch to an alternative provider.

“We also worked closely with the Care Quality Commission to take a number of actions focused on improving Sevacare’s performance.

“Given our ongoing concerns we will no longer be paying any funds to Sevacare and we will be advising all existing clients not to use them.

“We are contacting all Sevacare users again to explain what alternative options are available to them.”

A Sevacare spokesman for said it did not condone the practice of late or clipped visits and that some of the staff featured in the filming had been suspended pending an investigation.

“We are an award-winning family business with compassion at our heart,” a spokesman said.

“Every year we are proud to support more than 9m care visits and we will not tolerate even one of those failing to meet the high standards we set for ourselves.”