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Medication and Local Authority responsibilities

Two recent Ombudsman cases have highlighted the responsibilities of local authorities in relation to medication

Buckinghamshire Council

A man with a learning disability and living in a residential care setting. His GP prescribed medication (sleeping tablets) to be used ‘when needed’. Staff then gave this medication every other night for seven months. His mother raised concerns about excessive use of this medication, and it was stopped. The Ombudsman’s report: When a council commissions another organisation to provide services on its behalf it remains responsible for those services and for the actions of the organisation providing them. So, although I found fault with the actions of the Care Provider, I have made recommendations to the Council.’ The Ombudsman directed the council to pay £2,500 to the parents of the man and review its medication management processes.

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Lancashire County Council

A man living in a care home whose son complained the council did not do enough to prevent care home staff mis-medicating his father. The Ombudsman’s report: ‘I have found the Council commissioned care provider at fault for failing to administer medication to Mr Y in accordance with the Council’s medication policy and procedure. This resulted in Mr Y receiving a double dose of his medication in March 2021, and someone else’s medication on two occasions in June 2021.’ The Ombudsman directed the council to pay £500 to the son and review its medication processes.

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