Mid Wales

Companies deny disrupting new home care system in Powys

Care workers have denied accusations by Powys council that they have tried to disrupt the hand-over of home care services to new companies.

After streamlining the service, it accused a minority of outgoing carers of tactics including changing key codes and not transferring paperwork.

One user said the hand-over was so chaotic he opted out of council care.

The companies which have taken over home care in north Powys have written to service users to apologise.

The number of care providers has been cut from 20 to four.

Gladys Perks runs TLC in Llanidloes, which until last month provided home care for about 150 elderly and disabled people.

The agency missed out on a new council contract, and denies allegations staff were deliberately disruptive before handing over to a new company.

She said: "The clients I've got now, I look upon them as family.

"So I want to treat them as if they were my family.

"There was no way I would do anything to jeopardise, and I don't think other agencies would either."

'Chaotic'

The council contacted Dyfed-Powys Police about its allegations, but the force said it would not be taking action.

Outgoing provider, Mid Wales Home Care (MWHC) decided not to renew its council contract and is closing down its Welshpool office.

Michael Maloney, of MWHC, said the decision to streamline the number of providers could cause problems.

He said: "I don't think a tender process is necessarily the best way to procure care.

"I think you are better off keeping reliable people that you have a good relationship with in the game and possibly negotiating lower rates or trying to make economy or efficiency savings."

Tony Ferris
Tony Ferris has criticised the current reliability of the service

Double amputee Tony Ferris, who has had regular home visits, said the transition was so chaotic he opted out of council care.

He said: "When we're in this position you need the guarantee of the service and it just doesn't feel that it's there at the moment."

'Teething problems'

There has been some criticism the council has left vulnerable people confused and distressed at the speed of the changes.

Cllr Darren Mayor, who heads the adult services portfolio in Powys, acknowledged there had been some teething problems after about 150 staff opted not to transfer to new providers under the same terms and conditions.

He said it was "concerning," but added: "We are on top of it.

"We're doing all that we can to make sure that those who are most vulnerable and in need are cared for and are secure."

The companies which have taken over home care in north Powys, Reach and Abacare, said they have written to service users to apologise for any distress caused by the transfer so far, and are working with carers to ensure any concerns are heard.

In a joint statement, they said: "We sincerely apologise to service users who have experienced any distress. We offer our assurance that any remaining difficulties will be addressed in the coming days."

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