Poor care left dying Hitchin man alone

Phil Rowe has spoken to the Comet about his concerns

Phil Rowe has spoken to the Comet about his concerns - Credit: Archant

A MAN has spoken out over a catalogue of errors which he believes may have contributed to his father’s death.

Phil Rowe’s father Alfred was receiving a daily visit from Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) appointed agency Sagecare Ltd to assist with getting up in the morning and ensuring he was wearing an alarm.

But there were two occasions last February when the visits didn’t take place with no notice given or an explanation received.

On April 1 last year, the carer in charge of Mr Rowe forgot to ensure that he was wearing his pendant alarm. During the day the 87-year-old fell and was unable to get up or summon help.

Eventually a neighbour heard his cries and police were called. Mr Rowe, who was not only disabled but profoundly deaf, was taken by ambulance to Lister Hospital where he died three days later.

Phil Rowe, who contaced the Comet after reading a story last month about serious concerns with HCC care providers said: “I can’t tell you how I feel. We had no idea how long he had been lying in his flat. The police were able to get access because not only had the carer not put on the alarm, they had also not locked the door either.”

Mr Rowe wrote to Herts County Council and Sagecare about their failings. They apologised and said the carer concerned had been disciplined.

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He was also promised the result of an enquiry into the failures to carry out visits in February.

“Every time I wrote to Hertfordshire County Council I was told I would get a reply but my letters and questions have remained unanswered,” he said.

“I understand that people make mistakes and sometimes these have tragic consequences. What happened is now in the past but it was the total lack of response from Herts County Council to my concerns that I found distressing.”

In a statement, Hertfordshire County Council said: “A thorough investigation was undertaken around the care provided to Mr Rowe. The results of this investigation were provided to his son in April 2012. A meeting was also offered; however we did not hear back from him at that time.

“A meeting has again been offered to Mr Rowe where any outstanding queries relating to his father’s care will be answered.”

Sagecare said that at the time of the incident it had fully complied with its obligations under its contract with HCC and with the Care Quality Commission.

“We fully investigated the matter internally in line with our own procedures and following this disciplinary action was taken against one staff member and work practices reviewed which Mr Rowe was informed of in writing,” it said.

“We wrote to Mr Rowe in January offering him the opportunity to meet with us to discuss any outstanding issues. We have contacted Mr Rowe again and have now arranged a meeting involving Mr Rowe, Sagecare and a representative of the local authority to take place this week.”