Suffolk County Council to launch investigation into concerns over Davers Court care home

The new Davers Court care home in Bury.

The new Davers Court care home in Bury. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s cabinet member for adult care said she will strive for all care homes in the county to be rated as “good” or “outstanding” after serious concerns were raised about a home in Bury St Edmunds.

Distressed relatives spoke to this newspaper on Sunday after they claimed they arrived at the specialist dementia unit at Care UK’s Davers Court, in Shakers Lane, to find only one member of staff on duty and one resident sitting in his own mess.

A recently-published Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found the home, which opened in its new building in August last year, “requires improvement” overall and was failing to met two legal requirements, including around the “recording, dispensing and safe administration of medicines”.

Mildenhall Lodge, another Care UK home, was not deemed safe by the CQC during two unannounced inspections in December.

Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care at Suffolk County Council, said she has requested the county council carry out a detailed investigation into what has gone on “as a matter of urgency,” adding “it’s unacceptable for people to turn up at a care home and find their loved ones and their relatives are not receiving the care they believe they should be”.

She said: “I would like good and outstanding care homes throughout [the county] and I think that’s what the people of Suffolk deserve. As a cabinet member, and my directors, we will strive for this.”

She added: “We are already working with the care home [Davers Court] very closely to make sure there’s an adequate monitoring process and implementation plan to put forward positive steps to address the issues that have been raised by the recent inspection, and indeed again by relatives on Sunday morning.”

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She said the county council had a duty of care to the people it places in these care homes.

Suffolk County Council has lifted its suspension on placing new council-funded residents in Mildenhall Lodge.

Mrs Hopfensperger said a suspension of new admissions to Davers Court was an option available to the council, but she could not comment until receiving the full report on the investigation.

Trevor Beckwith, Suffolk County Councillor for Eastgate, which includes Davers Court, wanted to the county council carry out a full investigation after reading the story about Davers Court in this newspaper.

He said: “Care UK is not some organisation new to the care sector; it’s an established care provider. You don’t expect these sorts of reports to be coming out of an established company.”

A Care UK spokesman said: “We would like to apologise again for care falling below our usual high standards on Sunday morning and highlight that it was an isolated matter caused by an unusually high level of team members being unwell.

“We have spoken with residents and, where appropriate, have written to relatives and apologised for any concern that may have been caused. We have also been in contact with the council to explain what happened and to offer reassurances that this was an isolated matter which is now under control. On Monday [yesterday] and Tuesday we have been able to fully resource rotas at Davers Court and the home manager is there offering support to the care team.”

In December 2012 Care UK began operating the county council’s 16 care homes and eight wellbeing centres.

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