Care home inspection results are ‘appalling’

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ALMOST half of care homes in Hemel Hempstead inspected by watchdogs have failed to meet all standards – far more than the national average.

Of the 13 organisations spot-checked by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), five have been classified as ‘non-compliant’ in at least one area.

This compares with a national average of 27 per cent of homes failing to meet all standards in inspections carried out up to March 31.

The CQC said conclusions about overall care in the town could not be drawn from the data.

Spokesman Louise Grifferty said: “We go into services for a variety of reasons – making any blanket statement about Hemel Hempstead would be very difficult.”

But Betty Harris, chairman of Dacorum Hospital Action Group, said she would be raising the issue with health chiefs. “If this is going on it’s not good enough,” she said. “It’s appalling.”

In most cases the failings relate to minor issues around staffing or management but two homes were marked down by inspectors for standards of care.

Inspectors visited The Lodge Care Home in Broad Street last November after being told people were having their call bells removed at night by a staff member so they could not call for help.

A senior member of staff had also failed to get medical help when someone fell over and sustained facial injuries.

The CQC report says: “At a serious concerns meeting on September 26, 2011, chaired by the local authority, an action plan was requested from the provider demonstrating how risks were being minimised and managed.

“To minimise the risks to people a decision was made to suspend admissions of people to the care home until appropriate action had been taken to address the risks.

“This suspension was lifted following a meeting on October 6, 2011, as the provider produced an action plan with timescales to demonstrate that appropriate actions were being taken to address the concerns raised.”

At The Rose in Fletcher Way, which cares for up to three people with learning disabilities, inspectors paid a visit in February after concerns were raised about a lack of staffing and an incident when a resident failed to return at the expected time from a day centre because of a mix-up.

Angela Hunt, marketing manager at B&M Care, which runs The Lodge, said: “B&M Care have robust systems in place to ensure best practice.

“Immediate action was taken against the staff member concerned, they were suspended and disciplinary action was taken which resulted in them being dismissed from our employment and an Independent Safeguarding Authority referral was made.

“Also following the Compliance Review, B&M Care amended their policy to reflect that all people that fall and hit their head, regardless of any injury, must seek medical assistance.

“I would like to add that B&M Care are a transparent and responsible provider that can be trusted and demonstrates that care can be done well.”

Mobina Ali, manager at The Rose, said: “It’s a new home. We had some teething problems, everything is fine now.

“Everything that was pulled up in the report we have looked into and made drastic improvements. All the measures have been put into place.”