Man left without help for 14 months after Westminster council cuts care package

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

A visually impaired man was left without the help he needed for 14 months after his care package was cut by Westminster council when he left hospital, despite medical advice.

It meant the man, known only as Mr F, who is blind and also has physical health problems, did not get help to go out on walks for more than a year, although it would have improved his health

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman fined the council, and said it should review the support for other blind and visually impaired residents.

The man’s support package was cut after he left hospital in September 2018.

His care plan, drawn up earlier in the year, said he needed six visits from carers per day for help with preparing meals, cleaning and for personal care such as washing.

He also needed three additional hours a week for help with tasks like getting his laundry done.

After he came home from hospital, Mr F’s GP said he should have help with a daily walk.

Although the council considered the GP’s advice, it decided not to include the help with walks in Mr F’s £481-a-week care plan.

His case was taken up by the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and the ombudsman said the council had not included his need for “access to the community”.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, said the man “should have been given help to get out and access services”. He said he should have been taken on regular assisted walks, which would have helped with his physical and mental health needs, but that he was denied this for more than a year.

The council was told to pay Mr F £2,000, and to review the cases of other blind people and check there was sufficient funding in their care plans to pay for the services they need.

A Westminster City Council spokeswoman said: “We acknowledge that an error was made in this case and have since put the matter right, complying in full with the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

“The council has issued a formal apology to the individual involved.”

Pictured top: Westminster Town Hall (Picture: Julia Gregory)


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