Ombudsman tells Reading Borough Council to apologise to woman with visual impairments

Our Reading Voice advocacy service helped the woman with her complaint.

A complaint that we submitted on behalf of a woman with visual impairments against Reading Borough Council, has been partly upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman.

Reading Voice, the advocacy service that Healthwatch Reading runs for local people, supported the women to bring a complaint against the council about shortfalls in care, the lack of a braille dosette box which led to a medication error, and concerns about the conduct of the council’s safeguarding enquiry into the incident.

The woman, who also had mental health needs, was dissatisfied with the council’s response, so our advocate supported her to submit it to the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) – the final stage of social care complaints procedures.

In its decision published on 18 March 2020, the LGO partly upheld the complaint. The decision states: ‘The Council identified the need for help with medication but did not provide that help seven days a week. That was fault by the Council. It resulted in the incident on 25 August 2018. Although taking her medication too early did not cause physical harm to Ms X, it caused her much distress. That is an injustice which warrants an apology and financial redress.’ 

The council has agreed to the LGO’s recommendations to apologise to the woman, waive £200 of her outstanding care charges and to make sure staff ‘update care and support plans whenever they make changes to the care being delivered’.

In total, 411 people received one-to-one support from Reading Voice during 2019-20, according to our latest annual report published on 30 June 2020. 

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