Almost 50 care homes in Suffolk ‘not good enough’, rules Care Quality Commission
The news has triggered fresh concerns over the state of care being provided amid a growing demand for services.
Fresh fears have been voiced about the standards of care homes in Suffolk after it emerged three more have been rated “inadequate” by inspectors in recent weeks.
The latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection reports for the county bring the total number of homes receiving the lowest rating in 2015 to seven with a further 40 deemed to “require improvement”.
Although one care home was rated “outstanding” and a further 70 deemed “good” throughout the year, 47 of those inspected are currently classed as failing to meet government standards, representing 40% of the total.
That percentage has remained unchanged since October when the EADT last published a breakdown on care home ratings, though the number of inadequate homes has risen, prompting concerns in the Labour opposition at Suffolk County Council (SCC).
Sarah Adams, health and adult care spokesman for the council’s Labour group, said the latest inspections have shown the county council’s continued failure to fulfil its responsibilities.
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“Since 2010, the availability of home care has been slashed, and more and more care homes have needed to rely on private patients for funds – with the result that vulnerable people are being forced to pay ever more for a service that is only getting worse”, she added.
“Suffolk County Council needs to have a workable care strategy – one which is able to pay for sufficient places, with properly trained and paid staff, so that Suffolk’s residents can be sure their elderly and vulnerable loved ones are safe when they need to use the care system.
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“But by taking yet more money out of the system – £6million in the coming year, and £12m the year after for home care alone – the Conservative county council administration is ensuring that the social care sector in Suffolk can only get worse.”
The three latest care homes to be rated ‘inadequate’ are: Drummond Court in Bury St Edmunds; Kingfisher House Care Home in Newmarket and Leiston Old Abbey Residential Home. They have been placed in special measures and kept under review.
SCC did not respond to request for comment in time for publication last night.
However in October a spokesman said: “We work with CQC and care home providers to ensure residents receive quality care.”
Regulation breaches led to Drummond Court in Bury St Edmunds receiving an ‘inadequate’ rating from inspectors on November 26.
The care home, which supports people with learning disabilities, had been visited previously in December 2014 when six breaches of regulations were identified. Despite the home agreeing an action plan, inspectors found it had not been implemented. It said there had been an increase in safeguarding concerns – many related to staff shortages.
The report said the service had not been well led for a “significant period” though it added recent management changes had brought improvements. Improvements in some areas were noted and the hard work of staff to address previous failures was acknowledged.
Mencap, which runs the home, said it had made leadership changes and improved monitoring systems.
“We deeply regret that the agreed actions in December 2014, and consequent service improvements, were not made to the degree and standard we would have expected,” a spokesman added. “We apologise unreservedly to each of the people and their families for this service failure.”
Kingfisher House Care Home
A lack of qualified staff at Kingfisher House Care Home in Newmarket prompted inspectors to issue an ‘inadequate’ rating and warning notice in their report published on December 18.
The report highlighted previous breaches concerning the levels of qualified staff at the home, where 72 older people were staying, and said insufficient progress had been made.
It noted “some positive changes” including greater continuity of care and more regular staffing, but added “there was still work to do”.
A spokesman for Four Seasons Homes No.4 Limited, which runs the home, said: “We are sorry that the care at Kingfisher Care Home has been below the standards that we expect to provide. We recognised the shortcomings identified by the inspectors and have been carrying out an improvement programme.”
However the spokesman added that the most recent inspection was only in respect of staffing levels and said the inspector found the home is now compliant. He said a recent survey of residents found 83% of respondents would be likely to recommend the home and all of the respondents said they felt safe.
Leiston Old Abbey
Inspectors noted multiple regulation breaches in their report on Leiston Old Abbey, rated ‘inadequate’ on December 30.
The report said the home, which was home to 15 people at the time of inspection, had no registered manager in place and too few staff.
It said improvements were needed in medicine management and how safety is monitored.
The premises were found to be poorly maintained.
However it said staff had good relations with the service users and spoke about them in a caring and compassionate manner.
Home director Anil Agarwal said that by working with experienced consultants “we are remedying the situation” and had recently heard from four families “who unreservedly complimented the dedication with which the carers looked after their residents”.
“We have more work to do on the environment and documentation, this is being addressed by the manager, myself, the staff and the above consultant,”he added. “I feel we are making serious progress.”