Social worker 'assumed' pensioner who starved to death could arrange own care

Social worker 'assumed' pensioner who starved to death could arrange own care

Social worker 'assumed' pensioner who starved to death could arrange own care

First published in News
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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A social worker has told an inquest she mistakenly assumed a pensioner with dementia and depression, who died after being left without a carer for nine days, could sort out alternative arrangements after her care agency was shut by immigration police.

Gloria Foster, 81, who also had diabetes and a number of other health problems, was heavily dependent on carers from agency Care1st24, based in Sutton, to visit her four times a day.

But the agency was shut down on January 15 last year as a result of an immigration raid, leaving her without a carer for nine days.

Sutton Council and Surrey County Council, which both used the agency's services, had been told about the raid in advance, but, somehow, steps were not taken by Surrey to make alternative arrangements for Mrs Foster.

An inquest into her death, which is being held at Woking Borough Council's Civic Offices, heard on Monday how Mrs Foster was found, severely unwell, by a district nurse who visited her at her home in Priory Court, Chipstead Road, Banstead, on January 24 last year.

Mrs Foster died in Epsom Hospital on February 4.

Today, coroner Richard Travers heard that Mrs Foster was a 'self funder' who was paying for the care being provided to her by Care1st24.

The inquest heard how Mrs Foster was judged to have been able to make her own alternative arrangements for care by Elizabeth Egan, the employee from Surrey Adult Social Care, who claimed to have made a phone call to Mrs Foster to tell her the agency had been shut down.

In a statement read out by the coroner in court, Mrs Egan had said that she made a telephone call to Mrs Foster the day after the raid but that there was no answer and she did not follow up with her again.

She said she had made a "judgement error" by assuming that Mrs Foster, as a 'self funder', could have made her own alternative arrangements for care.

Mrs Egan said she only made a record of the call on January 25 - the day after Mrs Foster was found - because she had been busy at the time making alternative arrangements for other clients.

No record of any such call was found.

Sally Curtis, who had been a senior manager in personal care and support at Adult Social Care for East Surrey, and had started her job the day before the raid, said Mrs Foster being a 'self funder' should not have made a difference to alternative care arrangements being made for her.

She said: "Under these circumstances it should not have made any difference.

"We would have expected to take responsibility for checking on the wellbeing of all the customers regardless of their funding status."

The inquest heard how, during the time of Mrs Foster's death, there was a vacant position within Surrey's Adult Social Care team for a position focusing on Reigate and Banstead - the area Mrs Foster came under.

The inquest continues.

Comments (2)

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12:51pm Wed 3 Sep 14

edstar says...

I bet there was no call. this person should be struck off.
I bet there was no call. this person should be struck off. edstar
  • Score: 4

7:04pm Sat 6 Sep 14

Ann hollowell says...

Typical social services , they are not fit for purpose. God help all of our elderly people under their watch. I don't know how these "social workers" can sleep at night, I really don,t. Absolute disgrace !.
Typical social services , they are not fit for purpose. God help all of our elderly people under their watch. I don't know how these "social workers" can sleep at night, I really don,t. Absolute disgrace !. Ann hollowell
  • Score: 0

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