Boss of "chaotic" Preston care home for adults with mental illnesses vows to make improvements

The CQC rating for Heathcotes Preston in Albert Road, Fulwood
The CQC rating for Heathcotes Preston in Albert Road, Fulwood
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Watchdogs have uncovered a catalogue of failings at a care home for adults with learning disabilities and mental illnesses.

Heathcotes Preston in Albert Road, Fulwood, was rated as Inadequate after failing all five key care criteria during an unannounced visit.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will now keep the service under close review, and could seek to cancel the providers registration.

Problems noted by inspectors included:

- New staff were deployed to support people with unpredictable and complex needs before they had taken induction training

- "We observed staff reacted (sic) in a negative and provoking manner towards a service user when they became distressed".

- "People were placed at significant risk of harm" because of the way assessments were carried out

- "People did not always feel well-supported, cared for or treated with dignity and respect"

- safeguarding incidents not always referred to the local authority

- The provider "failed to consider lawful practices" as one of the four people in care had been admitted without any formal agreement to carry out restrictive practices

- An open balcony did not protect people from the risk of jumping from a height.

The report also states: "During the inspection we found the house was chaotic because of the number of staff required to support people. Should the service facilitate seven people (it's maximum capacity) it is likely to impose on people's personal space and could cause heightened behaviours".

Three of the four people living in the home told inspectors they felt unsafe "because of the behaviours of another service user, (and) people had changed their usual routines and felt distracted by the chaotic atmosphere."

Brendan Kelly, managing director of Heathcotes Northern, which runs the service, said: "Heathcotes is aware of the rating at our Preston service, and have worked closely with CQC around the issues that contributed to it, which were primarily based around one individual who was inappropriately placed, and was in crisis during the inspection.

"We pride ourselves on maintaining high standards – 90 per cent of our 62 services are currently rated Good or Outstanding by the CQC, so it is a matter of immense regret that as a brand new service, Heathcotes Preston temporarily feel below those standards.

"We have carried out a comprehensive review of the service to urgently address the issues raised in the CQC inspection, and are confident that they have now been resolved – we await a follow-up inspection, which we are certain will see the service return to Good.”