The family of a severely disabled man who needs 24/7 nursing care have slammed a care firm that cancelled his support package with just three days notice.
Andrew Barras was “dumped” at the A&E department of the Royal Alexandra Hospital by ScotNursing workers last Monday, his brother claimed.
The 34-year-old, who was left brain damaged following a reaction to a vaccine as a baby, has been receiving round-the-clock care at home for 10 years, which is provided by the council-funded West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership.
His relatives said they were told on Friday, April 1 that agency nurses would stop visiting from 8pm the following Monday due to a shortage of trained staff, the Daily Record reports.
Despite his family's bid to try to find a suitable replacement care package over that weekend, they were unable to get help at short notice and Andrew was taken to the Paisley hospital on April 4, where he remains in the high dependency unit.
Sibling Simon, 33, said: “For a company that claims to be a leading nursing agency to turn around and say that they can’t provide care for someone extremely vulnerable just days later is just horrific.
“Our mother received notification from ScotNursing on Friday afternoon that as of 8pm the following Monday, they weren’t going to be able to provide care for him anymore.
“They’re saying they don’t have enough personnel or trained staff to provide the care. We would argue that any reputable business should be planning four weeks in advance.
“So they should’ve known long before now and been able to give us enough time to find a suitable replacement.
“We contacted the relevant people from the council, the community nurse and Andrew’s social worker, but basically didn’t get any joy with them.
“Then on Monday, ScotNursing took my brother Andrew to the A&E at the RAH and basically left him there to essentially become the hospital’s problem to sort out.
“They do have a contingency in his care plan that in the rare event of an emergency that they can do this.
“But it’s supposed to be a planned admission and only on a temporary basis - not that they can just withdraw care with just days' notice. Instead, they have just dumped him.
“They’ve now said that Andrew will get support with them for two more weeks, but that they can’t cover 24 hours of that care.
“They’ll be covering sporadically and sometimes it’ll be a carer instead of a nurse that comes in but Andrew needs 24 hour care for a reason. ”
Simon explained that as a result of his brother’s brain injury, he is unable to walk, talk or take care of himself and is dependent on an oxygen breathing tube.
They now fear that their loved one will be put into a nursing home and are concerned that he would die within weeks of admission.
Simon said: “He has got extremely complex health needs and we honestly believe that he would die within a matter of weeks after going into a home - through no fault of the home.
“They just wouldn’t have the capacity or the medical knowledge to look after him.
“The social worker said that they will look at exploring other nursing agencies but they’re already mentioning a nursing home which, to me, shouldn't have even come into the conversation at this point.
“They’ve already mentioned the name of a specific home that they want to look at for Andrew which is a local one that has a really bad reputation.
“We just want someone to do the right thing and get Andrew back to getting what he had before in terms of care.
“He’s been looked after at home for around 10 years and in the past, ScotNursing have generally provided a very good level of care for him. But now we feel like they’ve failed him.”
Wheelchair-bound Andrew was left profoundly disabled by the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough and tetanus) vaccine as a child.
He developed epilepsy and also has scoliosis of the spine meaning he needs to be regularly repositioned in bed.
A spokesperson from ScotNursing & Medical Services said: “While we made the difficult decision of our intention to withdraw from this package, we must emphasise that we have provided ongoing support in the transition with nurses and carers.
“Our team of registered nurses, who are trained and experienced in this patient’s specialist care, are continuing to support that transition and will do so for as long as is deemed necessary.”
Beth Culshaw, Chief Officer of West Dunbartonshire HSCP, added: “We are working closely with the family of Mr Barras, the Royal Alexandra Hospital and potential providers, assessing all options in order to provide the best nursing and social care in a safe appropriate setting.”