Council criticised over Plan Care scandal

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BUCKS County Council should have acted quicker in the Plan Care scandal.

That is the view of Bucks County Council opposition leader Mary Baldwin.

Mrs Baldwin has blasted the authority for failing to take a more proactive approach to complaints received about the county council’s contracted domiciliary care firm Plan Care.

“I don’t understand how things got into such a state without Bucks County Council being aware of it,” she said.

“I don’t think Plan Care can be trusted at all. With the power of hindsight it was a mistake to hire them – but Plan Care was a reputable company at the time.

“The County Council simply didn’t act quickly enough. I’m of the belief that even if there’s just one or two complaints, they need to be looked into straight away.

“When it’s people’s lives and health, you don’t wait.

“I would like to see (cabinet member) Patricia Birchley apologise to the affected families and to promise it won’t happen again.”

Mrs Birchley said the council plans to give Plan Care until May to improve.

After six months has passed the care firm’s performance with then be reviewed.

“I understand the comments from the Care Quality Commission,” she said.

“For example, care plans should have been tailored to people’s needs and late calls affect people’s lives.

“However, the county council did do the best it could to protect people at the time.

“We are now monitoring the situation very carefully, and everyone I talk to says Plan Care is doing a much better job – with the number of complaints having dropped dramatically.

“The needs of our residents are our prime concern – indeed, I feel confident that we have done the most we can to remedy the situation.

“We are speaking to Plan Care regularly too, as we as a council want to be certain people are receiving the very best quality of care possible.”