Plan Care scandal: ‘You get what you pay for’ says Vale council boss

editorial image

THE leader of the district council has referred to the Plan Care scandal as being the result of getting ‘what you pay for’.

THE leader of the district council has referred to the Plan Care scandal as being the result of getting ‘what you pay for’.

Aylesbury Vale District Council leader John Cartwright has blamed the recession for the failings of Bucks County Councils’ contracted domiciliary care firm.

In taking on contracted care companies for each of the four districts in Buckinghamshire, the county council claims it is saving between £3-4million.

However, while complaints in three districts in Bucks are relatively low, in the Vale they have reached crisis levels (see below).

“The financial aspects of anything must always be taken into consideration,” said Mr Cartwright.

“You can solve any issue by throwing a lot of money at it, but it’s not as easy at that right now.

“It seems to me that the organisation must be lacking somewhere if it’s not working.

“But it’s for the experts such as Patricia Birchley (the Bucks County Council member for adult social care) and the people at Plan Care to sort them out.

“I’ve only had experience of one complaint, and while it was an awful problem, the cabinet member seems to have handled it very robustly and efficiently. She has listened to me very well and taken it very seriously so I take my hat off to her.

“However when the service users don’t get the care they require, it has the potential to cause great problems. For example, people have to rely on these carers to come in and see to their relatives, and give them lunch for example while they’re out, only to come home and find them exactly how they left them several hours earlier. It is the reliability of the service which has caused the most complaints.”

l In 2010 Bucks County Council re-tendered the agency contracts for home care, reducing the number of agencies from over forty to four – one agency for each geographical district.

l The contracts were awarded to:

Westminster for South Bucks, Sevacare for Wycombe, Plan Care for Aylesbury Vale and Prime Care for Chiltern.

l The number of complaints to Bucks County Council regarding Plan Care are as follows:

> June: 7 complaints (4% of users)

> July: 13 complaints (7% of users)

> August: 26 complaints (12% of users)

> September: 43 complaints (19% of users)

> October: 20 complaints (9% of users)

> Up to November 21: 47 (20% of users)

l The number of complaints to the county council regarding Sevacare:

> June: 5 complaints (4% of users)

> July: 13 complaints (7% of users)

> August: 3 complaints (1% of users)

> September: 11 complaints (3% of users)

> October: 12 complaints (3% of users)

l The number of complaints to the county council regarding Westminster:

> June: 3 complaints (4% of users)

> July: 3 complaints (2% of users)

> August: 5 complaints (3% of users)

> September: 5 complaints (3% of users)

> October: 11 complaints (7% of users)

l The number of complaints to the county council regarding Prime Care:

> June: 0 complaints

> July: 1 complaint (2% of users)

> August: 0 complaints

> September: 2 complaints (2% of users)

> October: 1 complaints (1% of users)

l As an annual figure, Bucks County Council says it has received 244 complaints from service users about Plan Care.

l With just 238 Plan Care service users, that is more than one complaint per person using the firm.