Carers accused of ignoring sick baby needing round-the-clock care in South London

  • Tap above to watch video report by Kaf Okpattah

Carers in South London have been accused of falling asleep on the job and ignoring emergency alarm while looking after a sick baby in need of round-the-clock care.

Videos shared with ITV News London show one carer continuing to use her mobile phone as baby Ethan pulls on his feeding tube and triggers the alarm.

Ethan was born 23 weeks prematurely and placed in respite care after returning home from more than a year in hospital intensive care.

The treatment he received from the care agency fell short of what his parents were expecting.

'I put the cameras up because I thought there was a problems,' Emily Mazzonetto Dias, -- Ethan's mother

'I found them asleep when Ethan needed support with his oxygen and his saturation.

'He needs support for the lungs, the kidneys and for eating, he need oxygen every night and has recently stopped needing oxygen in the daytime.

'Ethan has medical appointments every week - last week it was four days and next week perhaps two or three days.

'He needs support all the time,' Emily explained.

Photo of Ethan after being born 23 weeks prematurely Credit: Family handout

Ethan's parents were so concerned he wouldn't survive long after the premature birth they had him baptised in hospital.

When he returned home his mother turned to the care agency to help look after her son but after two months she severed ties.

Eileen Lock, Voyage Care’s managing director for Children’s Complex Care, said: "Our aim is always to deliver high quality, professional care for the children we support and their families and we take this responsibility extremely seriously; nothing is more important to us than their safety and physical and emotional wellbeing.

"We supported Ethan for nine weeks in 2021 during which a small number of specific concerns were raised by Ethan’s family in relation to his care. These were dealt with immediately, including informing the relevant authorities who were satisfied with the actions we took. We were in communication with Ethan’s family throughout the process.

"We do not underestimate the trust families place in us to care for their children in their own homes and regret any occasions that the care provided to Ethan fell below the high standards we expect of ourselves."

Jayne Connery from support organisation Care Campaign For The Vulnerable criticised the carer's conduct: "They are obviously not aware of their duties in what they have to deliver.

"We are calling for cameras to be installed as well in homes - with consent - along with all care environments."

In 2018 the Care Quality Commission inspected Voyage Care and gave them a rating of 'Good' overall, but for safety they were listed as 'Requiring Improvement'.

Emily's son still needs specialist help but his mother's trust in the care sector is completely broken.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...