• Sarah Whitebloom


Two care homes a day were last week given the worst possible rating by official inspectors.

In a week where approaching one half of care homes' reports were not ‘Good’, altogether 14 homes from across the country totally failed inspections by the Care Quality Commission – including two homes belonging to Bupa and one owned by the leading operator, HC-One.

In total, 118 care home reports were published between 29 September and 5 October, in addition to the ‘Inadequate’ homes another 40 were found to ‘Require Improvement’ – including five owned by large care groups.

OLM’s worst home of the week is HC-One’s Ash Grange Nursing Home in Walsall. The home, which accommodates around 40 older people, was found to have no good features by the CQC inspectors. In a shocking report, in which the home failed in all five inspection categories, the inspectors state: The inspection was prompted in part by a notification of an incident following which a person using the service sustained a serious injury.’

In a damning litany of concern, the CQC continued: 'People were not safe. There were insufficient levels of staffing to meet people’s health and care needs. Risks were not consistently identified, assessed or managed which meant some people were at risk from avoidable harm. People were not always protected from the risk of abuse because incidents were not always reported to the local safeguarding authority. People did not always receive their medicines as prescribed.’

The inspectors described one particularly worrying incident: ‘We saw there were not enough staff to give people the care they required or to respond to emergency situations or incidents. For example, a member of the inspection team saw a person was unresponsive in a communal area of the home. Staff had failed to recognise this until we intervened. After which staff alerted the nurse and contacted the emergency services.’

Special’ mention should also be given to Bupa’s two ‘Inadequate’ homes this week: Fountains Lodge, in Tunbridge Wells, and Cleveland House, in Huddersfield.

Fountains Lodge, a brand new purpose built facility, specialises in caring for dementia sufferers and had more than 70 residents at the time of the inspection. Bupa boasts: ‘We provide a safe, secure environment that allows our residents as much independence as possible.’

But the CQC failed the home in terms of safety and the inspectors reported: ‘Not all concerns were recorded so no action was taken. Some people had unexplained bruising, which was not investigated.’

Meanwhile, on its website Bupa emphasises Cleveland House’s grand appearance, but inspectors, once again, found there were not always enough staff to meet the 36 residents’ needs - a frequent concern in respect of care home groups.

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