Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council failed over same-sex care

A severely disabled woman was left without respite care for two-and-a-half years after her local authority could not guarantee she would be assisted by a female.

Warwickshire County Council was found to have failed the woman, who is in her 30s, after a male carer at a respite home gave her a shower.

Her parents cancelled future stays.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) told the council to apologise to the couple and pay £5,500 in compensation.

Same-sex help in washing and dressing was specified in the woman's care plan, which the council argued was not a requirement of the job.

But the LGO, Dr Jane Martin, said between February 2011 and July 2013 the council had not provided an adequate respite service for the family.

'Missed vital opportunities'

Dr Martin said: "The couple's reasonable request that their daughter's intimate care was only carried out by female carers was made to minimise any potential risk to their daughter and to protect her dignity.

"As a result the family did not feel confident that the council could protect their daughter and so they have missed vital opportunities to go away on holiday or simply have a break from their caring responsibilities."

A spokesman for Warwickshire County Council said: "We unreservedly apologise for the historical complaints upheld by the ombudsman, many of which the council had already addressed in prior communication with the family."

The council has already agreed to arrange respite care at the home in line with the daughter's care plan and support plan, and the home has agreed to offer the guarantee of female helpers for intimate care.

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