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AN elderly lady has been left desperate for help to rid her home in Cefn Ceau from rats after the council allegedly failed to act and safeguard her well being over the weekend.

The elderly lady in her 70’s who did not wish to be named discovered a rat infestation in her home on Friday (Sep 28). Her granddaughter contacted a local councillor who promptly called the council’s new company ‘Delta Well Being’ who are charged with looking after council tenants and adhering to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act came into force on 6 April 2016.

In effect the local council where someone is ordinarily resident must do what this Act says for that person. That includes ensuring

  • you are healthy
  • you feel good about your life and
  • you are safe

According to the Act An adult is an adult at risk if:

  • they are being abused or neglected, or there is a risk they will be
  • they have care and support needs
  • they cannot keep themselves safe from abuse or neglect

On Saturday (Sep 29) Llanelli Online were contacted with information regarding a problem of
rats at a council property in Llwynhendy. We were told that rats have been an ongoing problem within Browen and Clos Cefn y Maes, Llwynhendy for sometime.

We were told that a county councillor had also contacted the council to report the problem, which was that an elderly lady had been overrun with rats in her council property.

We were told that despite councillors contacting the out of hours new council service provider “Delta Well Being” they were informed that the environmental team don’t work on the weekend and that no one could call until Monday.

The councillor claims that they stressed the urgency of the problem and that the elderly lady could not be left all weekend with rats running around the house.

The councillor also claims that they explained that the council have a duty of care as it is a council property. The councillor claims they were asked if the lady could pay for someone to do the work. The elderly lady was not in any position to get any help as she lacked the financial means.

The councillor was reassured that someone would be sent out. No one did call and the elderly lady was left to suffer with the rats running around her home..

We contacted Carmarthenshire County Council and asked:

Could you confirm or deny that a call was made to your environmental services department requesting that someone went to help with the rat problem at the address we have given?

If this was the case, why didn’t anyone attend the property?

Does the council believe it to be acceptable to leave an elderly resident in council accommodation to live with the rats in the property for more than 3 days?

Does the council have any procedures in place to safeguard the well being of elderly residents in their housing stock?

Would the council accept that this is a failure on their part given that there is a Well Being Act which is meant to protect vulnerable people such as this elderly lady?

We sent the following for use as a reference:

Part 9 of the Act sets out arrangements for co-operation under the Act; actively encouraging partnership working across sectors and with individuals who need care and support, Part 9 also sets out the duty to establish seven Regional Partnership Boards [1] to include third sector organisations within the membership.

Section 16 (2) of the Act states that local authorities are required to promote care and support services, including services for carers, and preventative services which are provided by social enterprises, co-operatives, user-led organisations and third sector organisations.

Section 16 (1) of the Act imposes a duty on local authorities to promote how social enterprises, co-operative organisations, co-operative arrangements and third sector organisations provide care, support and preventative services in their area.

We asked; Will the council be acting urgently to address the issues of a rat infestation in the areas of Llwynhendy we have highlighted in this email?

Jonathan Morgan, Head of Homes and Safer Communities, said: “We received a call to our out-of-hours service over the weekend reporting a rat problem at this property. The call was logged and was responded to as a priority on Monday. We appreciate that we did not respond as quickly as we should have, and in light of this issue we will be reviewing our out of hours procedure.
“We were not previously aware of any issues at this property, however evidence was seen of one rat and a possible entry point into the property was identified. A treatment was undertaken and we will return to the property later this week as part of our monitoring.”

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