Blow to Wiltshire Council's social care record as residential home found 'inadequate'

Written by Tony Millett on .

The CQC judgmentThe CQC judgmentThe Haven - a small residential care home in the village of Littleton Panell south of Devizes - has been found as 'inadequate' on all the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) five standards and is now subject to a Red Alert stopping it taking any more residents.  

[See below for statement from Wiltshire Council - added February 3]

The CQC checks social care providers against five questions:  is the service safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.  The Haven has been put in 'special measures' which can lead to the cancellation of its registered status.

Social care in Wiltshire is - we know - stressed, stretched and out of money.  That is why Wiltshire Council is planning to impose the full amount of the allowed social care increase (three per cent) in council tax for the next financial year.  

This CQC inspection gives a glimpse of what social care can become if not properly managed and inspected.

The Haven looks after up to twelve over 65-year-olds- some living with dementia.  The home currently has eleven residents - six of whom are funded by Wiltshire Council.

CQC inspectors visited the home in November after they had received reports that new staff were not being properly checked.  They found conditions that merited an immediate full inspection.

The CQC's full report is not yet available.  But a summary gives a shocking picture of the decline in the home since its inspection in 2015 when it was rated 'good' against most standards but 'required improvement' on residents' safety.

From The Haven's website - click on image to enlarge itFrom The Haven's website - click on image to enlarge itThe summary following the recent inspection states: "The home was in a significant poor state of repair and people were placed at risk because of this."  Inspectors called in an electrician to make the system safe.

Inspectors then called in the environmental health officer who downgraded the home's food hygiene rating from the top score of five down to two: "Staff had not received the appropriate training in relation to safe food hygiene practices and infection control was poor."

The summary continues: "There was not sufficient staff employed. Care staff had taken on additional roles such as cooking, cleaning, laundry. This impacted on the time that care staff had to spend with people either delivering care or providing meaningful activities."  

Inspectors were told this was a temporary situation and two new members of staff were about to be employed.  But there was no CQC Registered Manager in post at the time of the inspection.

"Not all staff showed a caring approach to people. There was limited interaction and staff did not have the appropriate skills to support and engage with people who were not able to verbalise. Staff did not maintain people’s dignity and self-esteem."

Marlborough.News understands that Wiltshire Council has checked the well-being of all the residents.  Assessments for the six Wiltshire Council residents found that the home is not meeting the needs of three of them.  

They may have to be moved.  If they are and The Haven cannot take in new residents, its financial viability may well be threatened.  

It is unclear whether the CQC will cancel the home's registration.  But even they do not, Wiltshire Council has apparently told the home it will not be placing people there for 'a considerable period'.

While the home will be kept under constant review, the CQC gives such cases six months to put things right: "If not enough improvement is made within this timeframe so that there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service."

The Haven is run by Georgetown Care Limited.  It is a family company based in Middlesex which does not run any other care home.  They have 28 days to respond to the CQC's findings and to the actions the CQC are requiring the company to take.

We still do not know how Wiltshire Council came to allow elderly people in its care to remain in such an 'unsafe' residential home.

Additional content - 3 February 2017:  A Wiltshire Council spokesperson told Marlborough.News: “The Haven was previously awarded a rating of ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission and the residents were appropriately placed.”

“We have acted swiftly in response to the concerns raised about the home and our top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of people living there. We are in regular contact with the management team at the home and are providing some support in relation to issues identified during the inspection.”

“We are working closely with residents and their families to make sure they are receiving the care they need.  If it is in a resident’s best interests to move, or they have a wish to move, we will support them to find an alternative placement.”