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Council-run care home still requires improvement

CQC inspectors said home is in breach of regulations

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886633

Council-run care home requires improvement

A COUNCIL-run care home in Newbury requires improvement.

Inspectors found that Birchwood Care Home was still in breach of several Health and Social Care Act and Care Quality Commission regulations. 

The home, in Birchwood Road, was found to require improvement in three areas that question if the service is safe, responsive and well-led, following an unannounced CQC inspection on August 5 and 6. However, the home was rated good in two of five categories – effectiveness and care.

The findings were published on September 20. 

Inspectors said that care was not always delivered by staff in line with individual care plans, safe recruitment practices were not always followed and staff were not always deployed effectively to meet people’s needs.

Care records were not always up-to-date and accurate and audit and governance systems were not always effective. Furthermore, the registered person failed to notify the CQC of notifiable events. 

West Berkshire Council said it took over the home in June 2017 under “challenging circumstances”. It was rated inadequate in November 2017 and later judged as ‘requires improvement’ in a follow-up inspection. 

The council has been working to make the home, which was supporting 54 people at the time of the inspection, more dementia- friendly. However, inspectors said that further improvements could be made.

The report said that staff understood their responsibilities to raise concerns and report incidents or allegations of abuse.

Relatives said their family members were treated with dignity and respect and residents were supported to be as independent as they could be. People also said they had experienced compassionate support and caring from staff with whom they had developed meaningful relationships.

Although the commission noted that improvements had been made, progress was not sufficient and a number of regulation breaches remained. It  found no evidence that people had been harmed, but said “systems were either not in place or robust enough to demonstrate safety was effectively managed”.

Also, records did “not clearly evidence that people’s risks were being mitigated in line with their care plan” and “the registered person failed to operate effective recruitment procedures, including undertaking any relevant checks”.

The CQC said it would request an action plan to improve quality and safety. It added that it would work with the local authority to monitor progress.

West Berkshire’s executive member for adult social care Graham Bridgman (Con, Burghfield and Mortimer) said: “We are pleased to see that two of the five elements of the rating have improved to ‘Good’, but disappointed that the overall rating remains ‘Requires Improvement’. 

“We are also pleased that the report highlights many very good aspects of the service provided to the Birchwood residents and the efforts of the staff, for example that ‘without exception, relatives and healthcare professionals spoke highly of the registered manager and their commitment to delivering a high quality service’.

“Having said this, we fully appreciate that the overall rating is unchanged. 

“We are now reflecting on the specific issues detailed in the report and remain determined to work hard to achieve steady and sustainable improvement in line with our priority of ensuring better outcomes for our more vulnerable residents.”

The care home is one of four managed by the local authority. The other three – Notrees Care Home in Kintbury, Walnut Close Care Home in Thatcham and Willows Edge Care Home in Newbury – are all rated good by the CQC.

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