Visits by local authority carers have been described as “like roulette” because clients did not know who would be coming to their homes.
An inspection of the Care at Home service provided by Midlothian Council failed to improve on previous grades, it has been revealed.
The findings have been described by Midlothian Council’s adult health spokesperson as “disappointing”.
The inspectors said one of the concerns raised was the lack of consistency. They said: “Many people said they did not get regular carers and this was upsetting. Relatives told us that they were surprised that people with dementia or forgetfulness were given many different carers.”
At a meeting of Midlothian Council’s Cabinet, Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab) said the issue of care continuity could be down to a lack of staff.
He said: “It is all very well for the Care Inspectorate to make that point in an inspection report but it is extremely difficult in the current circumstances with the difficulties we have in recruitment to actually be able to have any kind of continuity in there.”
Cllr Muirhead asked whether the local authority was able to challenge points raised by the Care Inspectorate.
However, Allister Short, director of health and social care, said they were not in a good position to do that. He said: “I think it is far easier to challenge when you are getting fives and sixes, it is far harder to challenge when you are getting twos and threes because it comes across as defensive.
”There is nothing in this we feel particularly good about.”
The Care Inspectorate report into their visit in May this year noted there had been improvements since their last inspection but not enough to improve grades.
It gave a grade 3, which is described as ‘adequate’, to the quality of care and support and quality of staffing of the service.
However, the quality of management and leadership was graded a 2 – weak – and criticised for failing to report “significant events” to the Care Inspectorate or properly record accidents or incidents.
In a report to Cabinet, Midlothian Council officials said a new Care at Home manager had been appointed on secondment and additional management support introduced as part of measures to improve the quality of the service.
They said: “The Care at Home service has responded to the inspection with a revised action plan responding to all the requirements and recommendations, with clear timescales and outputs to deliver the plan.”
The council’s cabinet member for adult health and social care and vice chair of Midlothian Integrated Joint Board, Councillor Derek Milligan said: ”The findings of the report, while disappointing, largely reflect what we already know in terms of what needs to be done to improve the quality of our care at home service.
“Revised plans are already in place and being implemented to tackle all of the issues highlighted in the most recent findings.
“We’re committed to making sure people in Midlothian can lead full and active lives with access to good quality health and social care. That includes providing a valued and reliable care at home service for those who require it.”