It’s not good enough for a council to say it cannot guarantee same sex carers

Local government ombudsman has criticised Warwickshire council for failing to provide a disabled woman with adequate care

woman in wheelchair
Photo: REX/WestEnd61

Warwickshire council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) for failing to provide a disabled woman in her thirties with a same sex carer.

The woman, who had significant needs and was not able to communicate verbally, received regular respite care from a residential centre so her parents could take breaks from their caring responsibilities.

The couple became concerned about staffing levels in the centre when it changed hands in 2011.

Warwickshire was not able to guarantee that the care home, which was owned by the council, would provide the woman with a female member of staff for her intimate care needs including washing and using the toilet.

The mother felt the new staff would be unfamiliar with her daughter’s hand signals and that her needs would not be provided for if she was left there. She was forced to cancel a holiday to stay with her.

While there is no legal requirement to provide same sex carers, ombudsman Dr Jane Martin said it was not good enough for a provider to say they could not guarantee it.

“They need to demonstrate  they have made every effort to ensure the service is delivered in the way that is best for the recipient.”

In this case the family did not feel confident  the council could protect their daughter, Martin said.

The LGO recommended the council apologise to the couple and pay them £5,500 for the more than two years they were unable  to access appropriate respite care.

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2 Responses to It’s not good enough for a council to say it cannot guarantee same sex carers

  1. Martin Porter November 25, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    A very difficult area.

    Male carers can often find themselves underemployed as service users prefer female ones.

    Not only is this potentially discriminatory, it is a disincentive for men to join a profession in which they are desperately needed.

  2. Jean Averibou November 27, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    Martin this is a very thought provoking issue. whilst it is good to satisfy the individual service user, it is also important to take the job market into consideration. Yes, you may be right, we use to have few men in the care industry, but today we have more men joining in. An it looks like we have more female service user as most women survive their male spouse.

    It will also be unfair from users to discriminated who should wash and care for them, as it is equally unfair of carers to discriminate against who they should care for and who not. Why then would women accept men gynaecologist to treat them and men Doctors to attend to them in a very imitate manner?

    I think when it comes to care, we may have to be looking at professionalism in welfare and wellbeing than sexual objectivity.

    I hope service users would see the need to accept other sex to attend to them as today’s world should be more transparent and accepting than it use to be when men and women were not equal.