Suffolk drug treatment charity vows to ‘correct wrongs’ noted in CQC report

Tony Kimber, chief executive of Focus12. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Tony Kimber, chief executive of Focus12. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

A Suffolk drug and alcohol addiction charity, which has helped celebrities including Russell Brand, has accepted inspectors’ criticisms as “justified” – and pledged to put it right.

Russell Brand has, in the past, been one of Focus 12's celebrity patrons. Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIRE

Russell Brand has, in the past, been one of Focus 12's celebrity patrons. Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) made an unannounced visit to Focus 12 in Bury St Edmunds in response to concerns it received.

The new report, which judged the quality of care based on inspectors findings, as well as information from patients, made a number or demands for improvements – though it also noted good practice.

It criticised governance, management and staff training, saying: “We could not be assured [staff] had the basic skills required to fulfil their role”. There were said to be failings in safe medicine management, including medicine kept “in a shopping carrier bag” and an unlocked fridge containing prescribed items.

Parts of the centre were found to be dirty.


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However, the report also noted good practice, including staff carrying out risk assessments, measuring the severity of substance dependence, and considering mental health as part of the admission process.

“Clients spoke highly of staff, they felt passionate about the support and treatment they received, and they were complimentary about the manager,” the report added.

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Staff interaction with clients was found to be “respectful and kind”.

The report also noted staff “enjoyed their jobs”.

Tony Kimber, who became chief executive at the charity last year said he welcomed the inspection, which he felt could help “develop our offering and meet best practice guidelines”.

Mr Kimber, who was previously commercial director at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, said the charity was “delighted” with the good practice, but acknowledged the criticisms were “justified”.

He said the centre had been going through a “major change”.

Had the inspector visited in June, rather than March, Mr Kimber said they “would have found a vastly different picture”.

Mr Kimber highlighted changes to training, clinical supervision and medication procedures.

“This is positive in terms of client satisfaction and treatment, but negative in terms of procedural compliance and we accept the findings and will correct where we’re wrong and celebrate where we’re right,” he added.

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