Rise in complaints over adult social care services in Hartlepool
Council adult social care complaints increased over the past year, although the service still received almost twice as many compliments to negative feedback.
The Hartlepool Borough Council annual report of adult social care complaints and compliments for 2018/19 showed 31 complaints were lodged in regards to the service.
This was an increase from 18 the previous year, although of the 31 complaints received nine were not considered for investigation due to being withdrawn or being ruled not acceptable for the council to investigate.
This meant 22 complaints were investigated, either by a manager or an independent investigator, an increase of seven from the previous year, and 20 of them have been concluded, with two ongoing.
Of the 20 complaints concluded, none approached the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in 2018/19 for further action.
In contrast to the complaints, a total of 59 compliments were also received relating to adult social care during the past year.
The report was presented to Hartlepool Borough Council Adult and Community Based Services Committee, with members praising the work of staff to help residents, while highlighting some areas which had been identified as problems.
Coun Stephen Thomas said: “It’s not just complaints, it’s compliments as well, and there is a lot of very positive feedback there.
“Looking at the source of complaints there were two areas which were quite noticeable and that’s in old persons and contracted services.
“There did seem to be a little bit of a theme around either lateness of scheduled social care calls or missed social care calls.
“The timing of visits is very, very important because individuals are depending on those calls and relying on those visits.”
Council officers said they are in the process of following up issues raised with providers to address problems, and have set up an action plan to target areas to improve.
Complaints lodged to the council included service users being unhappy carers were arriving at varying times rather than those planned, which was resolved by an apology from the council after it was found some calls had been made slightly earlier.
Another issue raised was a service user claiming they were not properly supported, which was investigated and the complainant was offered the possibility of being in control of his own needs, with steps made to integrate them with the community and added personal support.
Examples of compliments thanked workers for their ‘professionalism, care and understanding’ and another stated the department ‘should be applauded’ with the user receiving ‘nothing but courtesy and a desire to help’
Several compliments also praised the Telecare service the council offers as ‘friendly, helpful and efficient’ while another compliment labelled the support ‘brilliant and an asset to the council’ for support during a difficult time.