Widow complains about care provided to late husband by Portsmouth council and care company

Vera Harris and her late husband David in July this year before he got seriously ill. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Vera Harris and her late husband David in July this year before he got seriously ill. Picture: Habibur Rahman

A WOMAN has criticised the care her husband received in the weeks leading up to his death.

Vera Harris has been left in tears and frustrated with the care provided to her husband David by Portsmouth City Council.

Vera Harris, 75, from Paulsgrove. Picture: Sarah Standing

Vera Harris, 75, from Paulsgrove. Picture: Sarah Standing

She claims he was left too weak to fight infections after being bed-bound at their Paulsgrove home when a decision was made that carers from the council-appointed care company Mayfair were not allowed to move him. 

But both the council and Mayfair said his care was in accordance with his assessed needs.

Mrs Harris, 75, feels Mr Harris would still be alive if his care ‘was up to standards’.

She said: ‘Earlier this year, a care package was set up by the council for carers to come in and look after David.

David Harris in 2015

David Harris in 2015

‘One day, they could not get him off the commode and paramedics had to be called to get him back into bed.

‘The next day the carers told me they weren’t allowed to get him out of bed until he had been assessed.’

An occupational therapist visited Mr Harris, 73, and said it was unsafe for carers to move him.

Mrs Harris added: ‘I was concerned about this because he went 10 to 12 weeks stuck in that bed. 

‘I raised my concerns about the affect this would have on him but nobody listened.’

At the end of August, Mr Harris contracted pneumonia and sepsis - illnesses Mrs Harris claims were caused because he was bed-bound.

He recovered in hospital and returned home on September 17 where hoists had been installed.

Three days later, Mr Harris got a water infection and was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital where he was diagnosed with a chest infection. 

Mrs Harris said: ‘David got the infection because carers left him 15 hours overnight and during that time he soiled himself.

‘I begged the carers to try and come out earlier to sort him out but they said they couldn’t.’

While in QA, Mr Harris’ condition deteriorated and he died on October 20.

‘Before David broke his hip he was a fairly healthy man,’ Mrs Harris said.

‘I am angry at the council’s and the care company’s care which meant he was too weak to fight the infections.

‘He should not have been left in that bed for so long but they ignored me.’

Angela Dryer, deputy director of adult services at Portsmouth City Council, said Mrs Harris had raised her complaints to them.

‘Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Mr Harris' family at this difficult time,’ she said.

‘We have looked carefully at the circumstances of this case.

‘We are satisfied our occupational therapy team and the care agency worked closely together and communicated effectively to improve Mr Harris' mobility and rehabilitation, in accordance with his assessed needs.

‘Mrs Harris was kept fully informed throughout this time. Mrs Harris has raised her concerns with us and we have responded fully according to our complaints process.

‘We have advised Mrs Harris of the option of contacting the Local Government Ombudsman for Social Care should she be dissatisfied with this response.’

A spokesman for Mayfair said: ‘Our sincere condolences to Mr Harris’ family at this difficult time.

‘We have completed a review of the circumstances and we are satisfied our care team worked closely with the OT’s and the council to ensure Mr Harris received the care in line with his assessed needs.’