Crowborough care agency remains in “Special Measures”

A care agency based on The Broadway in Crowborough has once again been rated as “inadequate” overall by the care watchdog and until care significantly improves will remain in “Special Measures”.

Care-at-Home-ServicesThis is the third year in a row the Care Quality Commission have inspected “Care at Home Services (South East) Ltd – Crowborough” and found that standards of quality and safety were not always being met.

Debbie Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care said:

CQC are aware of the three consecutive inadequate ratings and are concerned about the level of care at Care at Home Services (South East) – Crowborough.

Where providers are not meeting essential standards, we have a range of enforcement powers we can use to protect the health, safety and welfare of people who use this service (and others, where appropriate).  When we propose to take enforcement action, our decision is open to challenge by the provider through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.  Therefore it would always be inappropriate to comment further until any process is completed.

Our main priority is to ensure people receive safe, high quality care.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers should we find people are at risk.
An inspector and two experts visited Care at Home between 31st August and 12th September to check whether the provider is meeting the legal requirements and regulations associated with the Health and Social Care Act 2008.  During their inspection the CQC found four breaches of the Regulations.  According to the CQC’s Report published on 24th November, Care at Home continues to be rated as “inadequate” in two areas (responsiveness & well-led) and “requires improvement” in the other three categories used.”Inadequate” is the lowest of the four levels used by the CQC and means “the service is performing badly and CQC have “taken enforcement action against the provider of the service.”

As part of the process the inspectors spoke with people being cared for and their relatives.  People commented positively on the caring nature of the staff.

The CQC issued a Warning Notice following the last inspection in December 2015 and placed the agency in “Special Measures”.

Action has been taken to improve recruiment processes and in the recent report the watchdog said the provider was now ensuring care workers had the necessary skills and experience to enable them to carry out their role.  However in the report the CQC state they are taking enforcement action to ensure that Care at Home – Crowborough provide safe and effective care and the provider would remain in “Special measures” until inadequate care significantly improves.

In a statement Care at Home Services (South East) Ltd said:

The Crowborough office has had no issues, at all, which have affected the health care of any individual.  Whilst we have clearly received an ‘inadequate’ rating for 2 of the 5 standards inspected (3 meeting the standards), the report also acknowledged that some of the previous breaches had been rectified, and improvements for other areas were noted, but insufficient to satisfy the commission.  The report contained numerous positive comments from both service users and staff.

The difficulty still remains that we service the widespread geographical area of the Weald, and it is not physically possible to provide all service users with their desired call times, and this is reflected in the grading for ‘responsiveness’.   We have already taken steps to reduce this geographical coverage, and will continue to do so.

The outcome of the report is clearly disappointing, as we believed that the interim steps taken by the management team were sufficient to clear the breaches, and this has not been the case.  Therefore we are undertaking a thorough review of all aspects of our operations, including geographical areas covered and our management processes.

At the time of the inspection, the agency provided 133 people with care in their own home.   Most were older people or people who lived with long-term medical conditions.

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said:

We are currently not referring people to Care at Home Services, Crowborough, in order to enable the service to focus on the necessary improvements that need to be made.

We will be working closely with the service so that we can ensure vulnerable people in the Crowborough area receive reliable and caring home care services.

You can read the full report by the Care Quality Commission on their website: www.cqc.org.uk.

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