Top Agencies in Ealing

* As per previous email, Carewatch is not the biggest agency in the Borough. This is a list of some of them taken from “Adult Services – Approval to extend homecare and supported living contracts” – Ealing Council

The approximate annual value of the current homecare contracts is as follows:
Carewatch – £1.7 million
Supporta Care – £3.2 million
Medico – £1.9 million
Plan Personnel – £1.7 million
MNA – £0.9 million
Excelcare – £0.7 million
Genesis – £0.1 million
Supreme Care – £0.7 million

Care Agencies – What Politicians prefer to ignore.

As Carewatch have not been able to provide adequate services, the email below was sent to Ealing Council (and political representatives) as a reminder of how regulations have failed and are failing the elderly.


Dear Brenda,

<< Please pass this email to whom it may concern within Ealing Council >> 

I may be old fashion with old fashion values, but, in my book, stealing is stealing whichever form it takes. I also do not ever think that I might be special, so if something happens to me, it is likely to happen to a load of other people.

Now if, at the weekend, my mother’s allocated time was provided at the rate of 50% – resulting in hours not worked by the carers but still paid for by the Council to the Agency, what does happen on a larger scale, please?

I don’t know how many elderly ‘clients’ Ealing Council has on their books, but if the above happens to 1000 of them – can you please see that we have a substantial waste of public money and resources?

(1000 x 4 hours = 4000) = (4000 x £13.00p.h) = £52,000 (y*) [£13.00 being the average figure that Ealing Council pays to Agencies per hour]

The above figure is a hypothetical amount but one that is very likely.

Should we multiple the above amount by the 326 Boroughs in England – the figure would be VERY alarming indeed.

*y X 326 X 52 weekends = £881,504.00

For well over a decade, we have all tried to come to term with the tragic death of Victoria Adjo Climbié in 2000 and “a system” that should have learned from previous mistakes.  However, the very recent death of abandoned Gloria Foster, aged only 81, was yet another reminder that something somewhere is not just bad, but it is rotten.

Coming from the private sector I surely fail to understand many policies adopted by Councils. It is safe to assume that a Care Agency will provide their services to Ealing Council via some contractual agreement.

Almost a year ago, the agency Genesis provided care services to my mother for just over five months. An excellent carer called Nadia provided such services. The “bad apple” was a young weekend carer that, to culminate her list of poor performances, one Sunday failed completely to provide services (breakfast, medications, personal care and lunch) to my mother. A smaller “incident” that what happened to Gloria Foster, but nevertheless a wakeup call to the standard of care, or lack of care that should have concerned very much not just us but both the agency and the Council.

Genesis should have followed their own clear guidelines and complaint procedures but they failed to do so. Instead, due to “capacity”, they pulled out from their contractual agreement.

I don’t really understand how any contractual agreement can take into consideration the word “capacity”. Should we not have “capacity” for rubbish collection, we would have our streets full of rubbish and rats, for example.

Capacity has now come up four of five times (I have lost the count) with the same amount of agencies within the last six months.

Carewatch, the biggest agency in the Borough*, has also now come up with the word “capacity” and they have also given their notice. How can the biggest agency in the Borough of Ealing have no capacity?

Identical to the incident with Genesis, the only carer that was not doing her work gets the message that it is all right not to do her work, to leave saucepans dirty, floors and really everything dirty and to leave early. Considering that the carer is an 18 years old student from Nepal, studying to be a carer, what kind of values are we teaching these young students? Are we teaching them that it is ok to cheat and take advantage of the system and that it is corrupted?

Despite several complaints, Carewatch has been condoning and covering for her unprofessional conduct.

The two good carers, Barbara and Tatiana, that were looking after my mother, Monday to Friday, lost their jobs thanks, once again, to one singular “bad apple”.

The contractual agreement is between Ealing Council and Carewatch and there should not be allowances for such sluggish performances.

“”A FUNDAMENTAL failure by social services may have led to the death of Gravesend schoolboy Edward Barry, according to a new report”” [20thMay 2013].

Why are we all becoming complacent with the above headlines and why are there no “real” independent checks on what the carers do? We know that CQC is in place, but it seems that they are only able to tackle the tip of the iceberg.

In the meantime, with agency no.5 (or is it 6th?), my mother has become, once again, withdrawn and clearly upset.  She was happy with Barbara and Tatiana and she doesn’t like the new carer. Translated into her behaviour, she is in a mood and eating lesser food (all we need, now, is a hunger strike)!

If the word capacity is not mentioned in Ealing Council contractual agreement with the Agencies, this should be looked at carefully and instated. It is extremely unfair for the elderly and the Council that Agencies are able to hold us at ransom while failing to provide proper and up to standards services.

With 2.52 MILLION unemployed out there in the UK, I am sure Councils would be able to find more professional workers and agencies.


cc. –

Rt. Hon Mr. Jeremy Hunt – Secretary of State for Health – Department of Health – Richmond House – 79 Whitehall – London SW1A 2NS

Rt Hon Andy Burnham – Shadow Secretary of State for Health – House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Norman Lamb MP -Minister of State (Department of Health) – House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Liz Kendall MP – Shadow Minister (Health) (Care and Older People) – House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Ms. Lyn Romeo – Chief Social Worker for Adults – Argyle Street, London WC1H 8NJ

Care Agencies. Corruption, dishonesty and harassment?

We are led to believe that in Switzerland everything works perfectly, almost like clockwork. This is not entirely true, but some European Countries are certainly better than others when it comes to social issues.

For example – and writing from experience – such matters are generally carried out in what could be considered a more “civilised manner” here in UK than in Italy.
The problem is that I should, in fact, write ‘were’ and not ‘are’.

Despite some fantastic improvements in the British system, having taken place as a result of its membership of the European Union (such as better working conditions, better pay, better human rights), Britain has also inherited some rather stale bureaucratic habits from the Continent.
This is a two way system of which one might ask: what came first, bureaucracy or politics?

Many once-functional institutions have been left in disarray, unsure whether to blame the general political climate or the underlying bureaucratic systems with which they must work.
Where matters of social care are concerned this goes both for local councils and care agencies themselves.

I have had the personal “pleasure” of visiting three agencies in the Borough of Ealing in recent months and have had to deal with five in total.

On 17th May 2013, Michael Gove (Education Secretary) announced Government funding for a pilot scheme to train 100 graduates as social workers. The first 100 frontline recruits will start training in London and Manchester next year. They will be required to work for a further 12 months as qualified social workers after their first year of training – remaining employees of the same local authority with which they trained – and will receive a Masters Degree at the end of the two-year programme. At the same time (23rd May 2013) Lyn Romeo has had no time to celebrate her appointment as England’s first Chief Social Worker for Adults. As the announcement was made, Romeo was dealing with the deaths of a man who was “known to services” and his wife, on Romeo’s home patch in Camden, north London.
So much effort but still so much neglect: so many deaths. I would like to draw your attention to the example of Gloria Foster, who, abandoned, aged 81, “died in agony” (The Independent; 07/02/2013). Indeed, when you become incontinent and unable to feed yourself, you may wish that your family and carers had been able to pay more attention to your needs.

Despite five different carers looking after my mother and washing her every day, she has recently developed a Grade 4 pressure ulcer. This is now costing ‘the system’ a lot of extra money as nurses must travel to visit her three times a week. There is also the issue of extra home care including a new bed and other aids.

The achievable prevention of such situations – similar to general health care and policing – seems to have taken a back seat in modern British society.

Carers could well have been negligent , regarding my mother’s pressure ulcer, but there is no way that I can prove this, because not all pressure ulcers are the same and the condition affects areas of the skin and underlying tissue which may not be immediately obvious to carers themselves. Having said that, is it not sensible to assume that carers should have been properly trained to anticipate such developments; that they should have been as vigilant as possible? Of course, each agency is adamant when confirming that their carers are and were appropriately and fully trained.

Here comes the first part of the puzzle. Carers might speak basic English but many of those I have met, do not understand it. If simple instructions like “please place plate in the oven” or “please cut pear into fours” are not understood, how can these individuals be expected to grasp more important information about health issues or looking after the elderly in general.

Of course, like in any firm, there are good and there are bed employees. Bad employees may receive further training but not all and every employee may be suitable to/for a certain job/career.

One of the carers who worked with my mother was roughly the size of an 11 year old boy/girl; unable to reach shelves to access plates or toilet paper, unable to perform daily duties with the purpose of looking after a disabled and elderly person.

That, perhaps, was not so important, but what is very important, in my opinion, is dishonesty and corruption.

Dishonesty starts when carers sign an entry book bearing false statements such as “Washed the dishes” (when there were none to wash) and “left at 17:45” (when, in fact, the same employee was known to have left at 17:22). And all of this goes on even when carers are well aware that there are CCTV cameras outside the house.

This type of dishonesty is tantamount to theft. Perpetrators are stealing precious care and time by not looking after my mother and, I must assume, their other patients, employers and dependents. In my case, this occurred at the rate of almost 50% of the time which was allocated each weekend. And this is always equivalent to the theft of money from the elderly and their local authorities – as my mother and the Council are both paying the agency (Carewatch) for employing staff who are, as such, obliged to care for their clients.
My example represents a single case but Ealing Council is actually paying Carewatch somewhere in the region of £1.7million per annum for providing care to the residents of the Borough.

One would normally complain and, of course, I have done so. On three occasions I have spoken to the management at Carewatch but with no result. All that I have been able to achieve is, instead, the presentation of Carewatch’s notice of termination, on the basis that they could not work with me (a detailed letter on such allegations has been requested).

This means that – while their other employees actually provided a very good service from Monday to Friday – these two ladies will also lose their assignment thanks to the negligence of the weekend carers and the ignorance of their management.

A mixture of ineptitude and corruption is normally prevented in a workplace when the person responsible for poor performance or illegal activity is called to answer for their behaviour. Not so in this instance nor in previous cases. In my experience, the negligent carers have been rewarded for being lazy and uncooperative.

At this point in time it is not be the 100 new graduates who will make all the difference. I have a voice and I want to make sure that it is heard – not only for my mother but for the thousands who cannot even whisper.

An influx of trained graduates will make very little difference. They will instead be sold into a poisonous bureaucratic system and, furthermore, into what seems to be a particularly corrupt industry.

None of the above makes any sense, especially to a person such as myself – someone with many years’ experience, drawn from work within the private sector.

Carewatch are negligent, uncaring and unprofessional in their approach and in their attitude – and even if their contract is worth £1.7 million, there can be no excuse for being in compliance.