THE council has apologised after a vulnerable blind woman with mental health problems was left without support to make sure she took her medication for two days a week for more than a month.

Ms X – a pseudonym to protect her identity – is registered as blind and has mental health problems.

She receives carer support from the Reading Borough Council (RBC) to help with meals, medication, personal care, clothing, cleaning, accessing the community, medical appointments, and shopping.

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RBC identified MS X’s need for help to take her medication seven days a week but only provided this for five days a week from July 9 – August 25, 2018.

This resulted in an incident on August 25, 2018, where Ms X took her medication too early.

A Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigator said, while this did not cause physical harm to Ms X, it caused her “much distress…an injustice which warrants an apology and financial redress”.

RBC was also criticised for identifying the need for a braille dosette box – also known as a pill organiser – after the incident on August 25, 2018, but not following this up for three months.

But the investigation said there is no evidence this caused Ms X injustice because the council asked the care provider to prompt Ms X with medication and there were no further incidents.

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The investigator called RBC’s records “confusing and contradictory”, criticising it for initially agreeing the complaints were valid and then later denying it did anything wrong.

They concluded the council failed to address her concerns properly about its handling of her care needs and failed to provide a satisfactory remedy for the injustice it caused.

RBC has now accepted wrongdoing, apologised to Ms X and waived £200 from her outstanding charges of £4,411.27, as per the ombudsman’s recommendations.

The investigator also asked the council to identify the action it needs to take to make sure officers update care and support plans whenever they make changes to the care being delivered, which the council says it has done.

A spokesman for RBC said: “The council accepts the ombudsman’s report and recommendations and we acknowledge Ms X has not always received a service as quickly as she needed.

“We have completed all of the ombudsman’s recommendations and we are very sorry for any distress caused to Ms X.

“We have apologised and we have waivered £200 from her fees for any distress caused.

“Moving forward, we have reviewed how we ensure care and support plans are updated whenever there are changes to the care being delivered.”

According to the report, Ms X owed £4,411.27 after failing to pay 14 invoices.

She had agreed to a payment plan but cancelled it in September 2019, telling her care provider she was moving to another part of the country and confirming this to the council in November.

RBC also had to apologise earlier this year after unfairly demanding £2,500 from a blind woman.