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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Worst home of the week? There are too many to choose just one.

Such is the choice, it is hard to decide which should be the worst care home of the week. There is one obvious candidate – with five ‘Inadequate’ ratings: Northcott House, Gosport.

According to the Care Quality Commission’s inspectors: ‘We found serious concerns about the safety of the service... Due to the concerns we found we made referrals to the local authority and told the registered manager and provider to take immediate action.’

But there are also ‘Inadequate’ reports on several other care homes, which may not have the full five black marks, but whose owners really should know – and do – better.

Stamford Bridge Beaumont, outside York, is owned by ‘upmarket’ operator Barchester. But there was nothing upmarket about the inspectors’ comments: ‘Prior to this inspection we received information from a whistle-blower about a serious safeguarding incident at the service. The information about this incident had not been shared with the East Riding of Yorkshire council (ERYC) or CQC by the provider...This matter was referred to Humberside Police because of the nature of the concerns and is currently under investigation.

‘In addition, three people had raised concerns with us about the care of their relatives....The information we received identified there may be issues in the following areas: inadequate pressure area care, people not given enough to drink, people not safeguarded, documentation not being completed correctly, staffing levels not adequate and deployment of staff not safe and concerns regarding the leadership of the service.

‘We looked at these issues during the inspection and found evidence to support these concerns.’

Barchester's Stamford Bridge Beaumont

Then, there was Larchwood Nursing and Residential Home in Norwich, operated by long-standing provider Bondcare. The inspectors complained about safety, cleanliness, records, staffing and personal care. But the report’s comments about the uncaring nature of the service were shocking: ‘During our inspection visit we found that dignity was compromised. For example, we saw several people were lying on their bed naked with the doors open in the afternoon. One staff member we spoke with referred to people who required support with their meals as, "Feeds", which did not reflect a respectful approach or uphold people's dignity.’

Meanwhile, HC-One, which describes itself as the ‘Kind Care Company’, saw four of its homes fail inspections this week with ‘Requires Improvement’ ratings. These were Averill House, Manchester; Chaseview, Burntwood; Victoria Park, Coventry and Tower Bridge Care Centre, London.

So many to choose from! So little to commend any of them.

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