Elderly suffer after reverse e-auctions for home care

Labour NHS IT reverse auctions reduce dignity and care for elderly

Andrew Wilson, 78, was one of the elderly people who received poor treatment after a reverse e-auction. This was run by South Lanarkshire for the provision of home care.

Domiciliary Care, a big provider in Scotland, won the contract after companies had driven down their prices. It won with a bid to provide care for £9.95 an hour.

Mr Wilson is hard of hearing, blind in one eye and unable to walk more than a few steps. With no close family, he lives alone and depends on carers. He allowed Panorama to fit secret cameras in his home for 19 days.

The cameras showed Mr Wilson being given a bed bath while his carer was constantly on her mobile phone complaining to the office about her workload. The cameras also recorded that, of his four half-hour visits a day, those at lunch and teatime were often curtailed.

His care assessment makes clear that his lunchtime carer should prepare a meal. However, he was routinely fed sandwiches, crisps and toast.

One GP who specialises in old age care said she was shocked by what she saw. “He has been treated with a complete lack of dignity,” she said.

At the time Domiciliary Care denied that Mr Wilson was neglected. It said that carers were under no obligation to go shopping for Mr Wilson but often did so. However, Care Choices Group, which took over the company last September, admitted that an internal inquiry had found that a number of the allegations were correct, and apologised.


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