Care fears as firm pulls out of town

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A disabled man claims he was left fearing for his future after a company cancelled his care package at ‘short notice’.

Edward Wiltshire, 66, of Lower Stondon, is paralysed from the shoulders down and used to receive daily visits from Manorcourt Homecare, Biggleswade.

However, Edward, a tetraplegic, says he was ‘shocked’ when he received a letter on Tuesday, November 8, stating their services would stop on the evening of November 10.

Edward alleges that the letter he received on Tuesday, November 8, did not state that a handover would be completed - when a current carer teaches a new care company a client’s specific requirements - leaving him concerned that a new company wouldn’t be able to help him properly.

He said: “ I think it is disgusting. When I got the letter I had no idea who my new carers would be and it felt awful to have my package cancelled with just three days of visits left.

“In a job, you have to tell the company one month in advance if you are leaving - but this is my life! How can you give someone just three days?”

Edward says that on Thursday (Nov 10), he received a visit from Central Bedfordshire Council and a social worker, the social worker phoning Manorcourt Homecare to confirm the handover.

The handover was completed on the Friday morning, with a new carer learning techniques such as how to dress Edward, taught by the Manorcourt staff.

Edward said: “I want to thank the council and social workers for pulling all the stops out! I knew they would sort out care for Friday 11th, but they had to work very, very hard - I know other people’s care was stopped by Manorcourt too!

“However, I think the government should ensure handovers take longer than a morning. It should take about two days for new carers to be trained.”

Edward, of Fakeswell Lane, has limited movement of his arms and hands, after a motorbike accident in the late 1960s.

He has since had to receive care, having no relatives nearby who can help look after him, and should receive visits from his new care company four times a day.

Edward said: “After the accident I just had to get on with it. It took a bit of time to adapt but I had a good bunch of carers - it wasn’t just me.

“I would advise anyone else who is worried about their standards of care to speak out - they could always go to the Care Quality Commission.”

A spokesperson for Manorcourt Homecare’s Biggleswade branch said: “Our utmost priority is to provide safe and appropriate levels of quality home-based care. Having reviewed the current capacity of our care team, a decision was made for the care packages of customers we currently support in predominantly the Stotfold area to be reallocated to local homecare providers, via the Local Authority. While we regret having to make this decision, we believe it is in the best interests of both those receiving the care and for our care team that this step is taken. In consultation with the Local Authority, it was agreed that we would notify the eight affected customers and therefore letters were sent by first class post. It is now with the Local Authority to confirm the details of the new care provider that will take over the service for these customers. Once confirmed, we will be happy to work with them on an official hand-over to ensure a seamless transition as possible.”

Julie Ogley, Director of Social Care, Health and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “Following the departure of a number of carers, Manorcourt Homecare Agency contacted the council to give seven days’ notice to end care for nine customers in the Ivel Valley area.

“We asked them to formally write to all nine customers and follow this up with a telephone call to assure them that the council would be appointing another care provider and that they would not be left without care at any stage.

“An alternative care provider has been agreed and they are in discussions with the current care provider over handover arrangements..

“The continuity of care for our residents is paramount and this is why we acted quickly to ensure that their care needs would continue to be met at all times.”