Fears for future of care home ahead of hearing

Kent Lodge Residential Home in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.

Kent Lodge Residential Home in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Kent Lodge was rated inadequate by the CQC this year – one of five homes in the county to be given the rating this year

The owner of a Suffolk care home rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission claims the future of her business is hanging in the balance as an upcoming hearing could see her licence revoked.

Inspectors raised a series of concerns about Kent Lodge residential home in Ipswich earlier this year with failings including a lack of staff training and the management of medication being raised.

But the owner of the Woodbridge Road centre, Pauline Kent, has criticised the CQC over its inspection and has said a variety of improvements have been made.

She said the home faces “an uphill task” against the health watchdog when it comes to inspections. The CQC has said the hearing next week revolves around “further enforcement action” in relation to the home, which is being appealed, but declined to comment any further due to legal issues.

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Mrs Kent said: “Care seems to have gone out of the window. The morale of the staff is so low because they don’t know if they are going to have a job. We are going to go to court and are going to sit it out because of the staff.”

Mrs Kent said that the hearing next week could lead to her “having her licence taken away”. Mrs Kent said that Kent Lodge provides a good service for its older and vulnerable residents, which is appreciated by both staff and residents. She said residents want to stay at the home and in a letter to this newspaper, one staff member said they felt the “residents are very happy here” and that “they are cared for by very good carers.”

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A new manager, Steve Trump, who has managed a number of care homes over the last 30 years, was installed on March 18 following the initial inspection on March 9.

Around five weeks later, on April 30, the CQC carried out a follow-up inspection, and said in a follow-up report that a host of improvements had been made, despite raising some concerns over resident welfare. Environmental health officers and fire officers also raised concerns.

The watchdog said staff were “complimentary” about the new manager and it was noted that an action plan from him demonstrated steps were being taken to improve the service.

The news about Kent Lodge has come after an investigation by this newspaper found hundreds of older people are living in homes in Suffolk which either require improvement or have been deemed inadequate.

According to the CQC website, 34 care homes have been graded as requiring improvement, while five have been deemed inadequate. There have also been 58 good ratings and one outstanding – these are inspections which have taken place this year.

The proportion of homes which do not have the top two ratings this year so far stands at almost 40%.

The hearing is due to take place at Colchester Magistrates’ Court next week.

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