EALING Council is to review whether it works with a home care provider in future after it was found to have falsified records during an Ombudsman investigation.

A woman asked the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate the care provided to her elderly mother by Metro Home Care after she left hospital following a fall.

The daughter complained that, during the 10 days she was out of hospital and cared for by the agency, her mother developed serious bed sores on her feet.

The agency had been commissioned by Ealing to visit her mother four times a day to help with taking medication and personal care.

However, the woman complained the carers were not always on time and sometimes did not show up at all.

She provided the investigation with photographs of care notes taken when her mother was admitted to hospital.

However, notes provided by the agency had different handwriting and the name of one of the workers was spelt differently.

The times, durations and activities carried out for each visit were at odds with the originals on almost all occasions.

The notes even recorded that care workers had called the GP and district nurse on three occasions. Yet the original notes showed no recordings of the calls.

The investigation found no evidence the council took any immediate action following the hospital's safeguarding referral.

The care agency told a social worker it had carried out its own investigation and found it had provided the mother with appropriate care. The council accepted this.

Michael King, the Ombudsman, said: “The care agency has not been able to provide me with any reason why the notes it sent to me were different from the contemporaneous notes provided by the daughter.

“Had medical professionals been called in, the mother’s bed sores could have been spotted sooner.

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“Though councils can contract out care to agencies, they cannot contract out responsibility for that care, so I have also found fault with Ealing for the care provider’s actions.

“I am pleased the council has accepted my recommendations to improve services – however they are delivered – to people in the borough.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: “The council accepts the Ombudsman’s findings and recommendations and, while we have already informally apologised to the family, we will make a formal apology and ensure the full compensation is paid as soon as possible.

"We are taking immediate corrective action in relation to the agency, in addition to reviewing our safeguarding and contract compliance arrangements.

"We have already made improvements both locally and on a pan-London basis in recent months.

“The provider remains suspended from further use by the council.

"Consideration of any continued working relationship with them will be managed and assessed through a formal risk review process which will include relevant partners.

“We take seriously our commitment to ensure there are responsive systems in place to manage risks to vulnerable adults.

"Like all councils, we contract out the delivery of personal care to CQC regulated agencies. However we also accept that, as commissioners, we cannot contract out responsibility for that care.”