Lancashire County Council ends contract with Preston care agency

County Hall at Preston
County Hall at Preston
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A Preston care firm placed in special measures by inspectors has lost its contract with the county council.

Carepath Recruitment Ltd received a scathing report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for a number of failings in key areas.

The contract will end in September at the end of the three-month notice period.

The firm – which provides home-based care for adults and children – had received a similarly critical report last year.

But inspectors who visited in April found “quality of provision had further declined” despite some evidence of improvement.

Lancashire County Council bosses confirmed they will not be extending their contract with the firm due to “concerns about the service.”

County Coun Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services, said: “We served notice to end the home care contract with Carepath Recruitment Ltd in June following concerns about the service.

“The contract will end in September at the end of the three-month notice period.”

Carepath had received an ‘inadequate’ rating overall with four out of five assessment categories, relating to whether the service is safe, effective, responsive and well-led, deemed as ‘inadequate’, the worst rating. In terms of whether the service was caring, it was rated ‘requires improvement’.

A spokesman for the company said measures had been put in place to improve areas highlighted in the report.

According to the inspectors, the Church Street firm had entered into an agreement with the CQC not to take on any more service users after a poor inspection in August last year. However, “it was discovered whilst planning for this inspection that the provider was supporting three more service users than declared at the last inspection and had agreed a further two,” the report said.

Among the findings was that “service users were not protected by up to date, appropriate and reflective care plans and assessments” and “there were no systems in place to test the competency of the staff.”

However, service users quizzed by the inspection team “spoke well of the staff” and some improvements had been found in care plan completion.

Special measures status means Carepath will be inspected again within six months and if the CQC is not satisfied, registration could be cancelled.

A company spokesman said detailing areas of improvement since the inspection have been submitted to the CQC, a new manager had been taken on, and a more stringent system for risk assessments had been put in place.