A VULNERABLE woman died after care workers failed to follow emergency procedures to ensure she received the correct medical attention.

Eileen Whitehead was being cared for by Reading Borough Council's provider, Radis Group, when she fell in July 2017.

An investigation into her care found that procedures were not followed and her GP was not alerted in a timely manner.

The elderly woman, who suffered with lung disease, was admitted to hospital and died the following day.

Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, found faults with the care provider's actions, such as incomplete care logs.

He said: “The woman in this case was clearly unwell when care workers made their visits. We cannot say whether earlier medical intervention might have resulted in a better outcome for her, but the family has been left not knowing whether their mother and grandmother might have survived had care workers acted differently.

“Councils can outsource care, but they cannot outsource responsibility for that care, which is why we are finding the council at fault for the actions of the care provider.

“I am pleased the council has accepted its responsibilities, and welcome its readiness to make the procedural changes we have recommended to try to avoid the issue reoccurring.”

The woman’s son complained to the ombudsman when he said he was unhappy with the council’s investigation into his complaint.

The council agreed to apologise to the man and discuss with him whether he wishes the council to provide a lasting tribute in memory of his mother.

The authority will also pay him £100 to acknowledge the time and trouble he has been through.

A spokesman for Reading Borough Council added: “The council accepts the ombudsman’s report and recommendations in full.

“The complaint was that the care provider had failed to call emergency services for the mother, who was ill. The ombudsman found that the care provider had not followed its emergency procedures, and did not recognise this in its investigation of the complaint.

"The council, as the commissioner of the care, also failed to pick this up.

“We have written to the family and sincerely apologised. As a council, we completely acknowledge we need to strengthen our complaints procedure in relation to care services we commission.

“We have put in place an action plan to review the care provided by our care provider, and taken measures to improve our complaints procedure in relation to complaints involving our care providers.”