Care UK’s Mildenhall Lodge still not safe nearly year since Suffolk County Council suspended admissions

Mildenhall Lodge Care Home.

Mildenhall Lodge Care Home. - Credit: Archant

The under-fire care home Mildenhall Lodge is still not deemed safe by the Care Quality Commission, nearly a year since it opened.

Rachel Gilbert, Care UK regional director

Rachel Gilbert, Care UK regional director - Credit: Archant

Despite many improvements made, staffing levels and other failures at the Care UK owned home were highlighted, with Suffolk County Council continuing its suspension of new admissions.

The much-delayed report was published more than four months after two unannounced inspections in December. The report found the facility, in Mildenhall, requires improvement across all five judging criteria.

Care UK, who run care homes across Suffolk, have welcomed the report, stressing that further improvements have been made since the inspections.

The report said: “We found that staffing levels meant that sometimes people were left without the staff support they needed.

“We saw that one person had failed to receive one medicine 18 times in the last 21 days. There was no explanation as to why this medicine had not been given.”

The home was found to be breaching several regulations governing medicines, while items such as disinfectant being left out in the kitchen areas put dementia patients “at risk”.

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Despite these issues, the report did praise many members of staff, labelling them as kind caring and compassionate.

The report stated: “One person told us, ‘I feel safe here and if I was worried I’d find a senior member of staff’.

“This view was echoed by others who felt they could speak to staff if they did not feel safe.”

The previous report in September had condemned staffing levels on several occasions, since then the home has increased wholetime staff by one, an improvement praised by the CQC.

However, it was found that many residents, relatives and members of staff felt at times there were not enough people working.

A spokesman for the county council, who out sourced care home provision to Care UK, said: “We need to be completely satisfied that the findings of the latest CQC report match the information we have gathered since December 2014 before we can refer residents to Mildenhall Lodge again.

“It is positive that improvements appear to be taking place at the home. We have maintained our current position in not referring new residents at this time but we are reviewing the situation.”

Care UK’s regional operations director Rachel Gilbert said: “This new report shows that there has been further improvement in the care delivered at the home although we accept that it does detail some areas which still require attention.

“I’m also pleased to report that the home now has a permanent, highly experienced manager. Lots of the relatives of people living in Mildenhall Lodge, and the residents themselves, have been telling us how pleased they are with the care.

“This has been a tremendous boost to my team who work very hard to deliver a great service and, sadly, have been left feeling upset about some of the recent criticism of the home.”

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