Fears as service withdraws contract to care for elderly in Gosport and Fareham

A care firm operating in Gosport and Fareham has pulled out of contract with Hampshire County Council''Picture posed by models
A care firm operating in Gosport and Fareham has pulled out of contract with Hampshire County Council''Picture posed by models
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CONCERNS have been raised over the future of care services after a company withdrew its contract with the county council.

Mears Care Fareham, which runs home-care services in Gosport and Fareham, is no longer working for Hampshire County Council.

Firms like this take on contracts to care for elderly people but they cannot deliver the work the contract requires

Cllr Peter Chegwyn

The move means almost 300 elderly people which the care workers looked after will need replacement services.

Gosport councillor Peter Chegwyn, who represents Hardway on the county council, said it a worry that firms are pulling out of their contracts. ‘Firms like this take on contracts to care for elderly people but they cannot deliver the work the contract requires,’ he said.

‘It is really worrying and I think it is disgraceful that people who need the help most are being treated this way. I do think that we need a council inquiry and the whole system of external contracts for care needs a complete shake-up.’

Cllr Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care, said the council has already brought in two organisations to take over the care provided by Mears and they are working to make the transition smooth.

The pressure of increasing services needed by Mears Care was included in a Care Quality Commission report which rated the Fareham service as ‘inadequate’.

The report said: ‘The service had expanded rapidly in 2015 with a new local authority contract. There had been an expectation that the service could grow to more than four times its previous size in the space of two months.’

The inspection was carried out between October and November last year with the report published this month.

Two of the five criteria looked at were considered inadequate while the other three were rated as ‘requires improvement’.

The criteria included whether the service is safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led.

It was given inadequate on being safe and well-led.

Within the report it said people had experienced missed calls, late calls and short calls during periods when insufficient numbers of suitable staff were available.

It also said records were not always up to date, fit for purpose and kept so they were readily available. But users felt staff were caring.