Agency rapped by watchdog

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A home care agency which provides care to people across Lancashire has been told to take immediate action to improve standards of care.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission have published a report raising a number of concerns following an inspection of the agency based in Carnforth.

Visiting inspectors found that the agency was failing to provide care which was safe, effective, caring, responsive or well led; and four of the five national standards inspected were not being met.

Inspectors were concerned that people who used the service were not receiving safe and consistent care, as records showed that visits were often delayed or missed entirely.

They also highlighted there was not enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people’s needs and staff were not fully supported to deliver care safely and to an appropriate standard. As a result of these findings CQC is currently considering the need for further regulatory action.

In the meantime CQC has requested the provider submits an action plan detailing the steps they will put in place to remedy inspectors concerns.

Debbie Westhead, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North said: “The failing’s at St Georges Care Home Care Limited are of serious concern and we are assessing the need for further action against the agency – although we cannot discuss the nature of that action any further at this stage for legal reasons.

“We have shared our findings with the Local Authority Safeguarding Team, we have also told St Gregory’s Homecare Ltd very clearly where improvements must be made.

“The people receiving care from St Gregory’s Homecare Ltd are entitled to receive services which are safe, effective, compassionate, well led, and responsive to their needs.

“There should be enough qualified and skilled staff to deliver care that fully meets people’s needs and it is unacceptable that staffing levels were found to be falling short.”

The service covers an extensive area of North Lancashire and Cumbria.

Carl Weatherall, of St Gregory’s Home Care Limited, said: “Patient safety is a key priority for all at St Gregory’s Home Care and we are committed to providing a caring, well-led and responsive service. We acknowledge the CQC findings released today but we would stress that we have already taken great steps to improve.

“We have instructed external consultants to assist us in putting together an action plan to ensure that we meet the national standards set by the CQC, indeed 90 per cent of that plan has already been implemented and we are awaiting re-accreditation.”

“We are also working closely with Cumbria County Council, who are pleased with the progress we have made.”