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  • Sarah Whitebloom


OlderLivingMatters’ awards for the Worst Care of 2017 have been given to care homes and providers across the country from Kent to Yorkshire. Worst Care ‘prizes’ go to homes from leading groups HC-One, which bills itself as the ‘kind care company’ and troubled chain, Four Seasons, as well as Sussex Healthcare, which is at the centre of a police investigation.

Individual Worst Care ‘winners’ are, with one exception, sitting on ‘Inadequate’ ratings across all measures from the Care Quality Commission. This includes ‘Inadequate’ ratings for safety, management and care. Most also have a history of poor care reports. A panel of independent judges, including a healthcare worker, a care expert and experienced users selected the award winners from a shortlist of nominees.

OLM’s Awards are as follows:

Worst Care Provider 2017

Runner-Up: Essex County Care/

Special Mention: Amore

Worst Care in an independent Home 2017

Winner: New Park House, Stoke

Runner-up: C&V Orchard, Wednesbury

Special Mention: Ashley Down, Gravesend (Has four ‘Inadequate’ ratings)

Worst Care in a Corporate Care Home 2017

Winner: Ash Grange, HC-One

Runner-up: Pellon Care Centre, Halifax

The Worst Care Provider of 2017 was a decisive victory for Sussex Healthcare. The 18-home group, which cares for people with disabilities as well as older people, is under investigation by Sussex police. Although 12 of the group’s homes are currently rated ‘Good’ by the CQC, with five rated as ‘Requiring Improvement’ and only one as ‘Inadequate’, other factors were taken into account, including the police investigation and concerns raised over 14 deaths.

Essex County Care and Strathmore Care, both run by the same provider – Davie Vive Kananda - were runner-up as Worst Care Provider. The CQC rated as ‘Inadequate’ 60 per cent of the two firms’ 10 homes. According to one of the judges, some of its homes could have been entered for individual awards. Meanwhile, Amore, owned by the Priory Group, came third in the provider category with not a single ‘Good’ rating among its seven homes

The Worst Independent Care Award went to the impressive-looking New Park House in Stoke, which is home to up to 95 older people – although, at the time of the inspection in August just 69 were using the service. New Park House has poor reports going back to 2011. But according to the inspectors in September: ‘People were at serious risk of harm....There were insufficient numbers of staff to support people with even their basic needs.’

Runner-up was C&V Orchard in Wednesbury. The West Midlands-based home provides care for up to 32 older people, including dementia sufferers. According to the CQC’s report in September: ‘We identified seven breaches of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and one breach of the Care Quality Commission (Registration) 2009.’

The Orchard has received nine critical CQC reports since 2011.

Ashley Down, in Gravesend, received a special mention from one of the judges in this category. It is registered for just 19 people, but has four ‘Inadequate’ ratings with a ‘Requires Improvement’ mark for care. But the Kent home has been sitting on an ‘Inadequate’ rating for more than a year and deteriorated rather than improved in 2017. It also has seven critical reports in the archive.

The Worst Corporate Care of 2017 went to HC-One’s Ash Grange and Four Season’s Pellon Care Centre. They faced stiff competition from homes belonging to all the other so-called Big Five companies. It is important to note that a majority of homes owned by both groups have been given 'Good' ratings by the CQC. But, according to the judges, the care described in the latest reports on these two particular homes made them ‘winners’ of the category.

Ash Grange, home to up to 42 people with dementia, deteriorated greatly during 2017 – having been awarded a ‘Good’ rating in autumn 2016. But, by this August, the home was described as ‘not safe’ and given five 'Inadequate' marks. Inspectors identified eight breaches of the law and said: ‘There were insufficient levels of staffing to meet people’s health and care needs.’

Meanwhile, Pellon Care Centre in Halifax can house 100 older people, including those with dementia, and the CQC’s rating deteriorated in 2017 from ‘Requires Improvement’ across all measures to ‘Inadequate’ for all areas. In May, the CQC said: ‘We found the service had failed to take sufficient action to achieve compliance with the warning notices and requirements issued at our last inspection.’

For more see here

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