COMPLAINTS about social care provision in Thurrock have risen, a report has revealed.

The council received 28 complaints from providers of care in residential homes and at home care compared to 19 last year, according to a report to Thurrock Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee.

Complaints, 16 of which were upheld, included spilling a hot drink on a service user and not adequately informing the family, as well as a complaint about a service user using recreational drugs.

Other complaints involved incomplete care plans, the correct administration of medicines and clothes missing from a room.

However, the borough had no complaints made to the ombudsman and it received 122 compliments for the service.

Shane Ralph, chairman of the committee said: “Overall I find it a very positive report considering what we’ve been through in that time period It could have been disastrous.

“I think this shows how well we did cope as a borough with our adult social care. One thing that struck me was that we had no ombudsman complaints and I think that’s an extremely positive takeaway from this.

Some councillors were anxious about the rising level of complaints, however. Tony Fish, Labour councillor for Grays Riverside said: “One complaint reveals hot liquid was spilt in a service user and it says additional training was given to the person that had done that. I find that a bit puzzling because I would have thought they had the training before they worked with the service user adequately so they wouldn’t be spilling hot liquid.”

Victoria Holloway, Labour councillor for West Thurrock and South Stifford, added: “It is quite worrying especially around the quality of care complaints and the issue is just training.

“To read them they are quite upsetting the conduct of staff and people not following care plans. These are really, really important things.”

Responding to the concerns, Ian Wake - Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health, said: “I think you Just need to put this in context. We’ve got 16 complaints upheld in a year. We have thousands of care interactions every day with hundreds and hundreds of service users and we have over four times as many compliments as complaints. I have spent quite a while going out to talk to the front line and we just have some amazing frontline staff who have put their lives at risk over the last 14 months. Many have been infected with covid and have been asked to self-isolate at home “They are not robots and however good your training is in challenging circumstances things do go wrong. Whilst 16 is still 16 too many I’m confident as I can be that we are doing everything we can do to try and keep mistakes to an acceptable level”