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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Where was the CQC when vulnerable residents were injured on its watch?

It is said a report reveals as much about the person or organisation who has written it as the subject. So it is with the report into Lyme Green Hall – this week’s undisputed Worst Care Home of the Week.

Lyme Green Hall

An unknown number of people have received injuries at the Macclesfield-based home, which last October was rated ‘Inadequate’ for every aspect of life – from care to management to safety.

At the time, the CQC placed the home in ‘special measures’ and prevented any new admissions. But there have been upsetting incidents at the home since then and, according to the report, a resident even sustained potentially life-threatening injuries. Nevertheless, it took the Local Authority to raise concerns and an investigation into one case of serious injury to bring the CQC back to Lyme Green Hall.

Although it had placed the home in ‘special measures’ six months earlier, the CQC appeared ignorant of serious continuing problems. It seems from this week's report that there have been several incidents, since the last report, including one in which a resident sustained a serious injury which is now ‘under investigation’ – only not by the CQC. The report also admitted: ‘CQC was aware of past incidences where people had been put at risk of harm and in some instances sustained injuries at the home.’

The report further stated: 'We looked at the care records of a person who had presented with physical aggression that had resulted in another vulnerable person suffering a serious and potentially life threatening injury.'

It continued: 'Some of the incidences described by staff indicated that this person subjected other vulnerable people to degrading treatment in that they would try to put food into their mouths, against the person's protests and left them in a state of agitation with food around their mouths.'

Meanwhile, some 24 residents continue to live Lyme Green Hall, which must spectacularly fail the ‘Mum test’. This is the test that the CQC’s Andrea Sutcliffe proclaimed this week was at the heart of the Commission’s work. Presumably, the CQC top brass would be happy to have their Mums live at Lyme Green Hall – despite the injuries, abuse and poor management.

They would be happy to pay for such care – along with the residents - who are presumably still expected to pay home owner, Pendlebury Care Homes Limited, for the privilege of living there. The Macclesfield care company also owns Regency Hall, another ‘Inadequate’ home in nearby Glossop.

Based on this report, you have to ask: what is the point of the CQC? Grade Two-listed Lyme Green Hall was one of OLM’s Worst Care Homes of the Week back in March, when the October investigation report was finally published. Despite this, the inspection system and the ‘special measures’ have failed to protect extremely vulnerable residents, who have suffered as a result. Where was the CQC when all this was going on? s this simply a consequence of the questionable ‘lessons learned’ culture of care inspection – where the care providers, rather than the residents, seem to be at the heart of the regulator’s concerns and lessons are rarely, if ever, learned?

* It has been a confusing few weeks for anyone looking at the CQC’s website to see the latest inspection reports because, it appears, that there have not been any. But the CQC insisted that many reports have been published, despite appearances, so it was necessary to spend some time looking to locate them.

No recent reports are to be found under the site’s ‘this month’ category. To find the latest CQC results, it is necessary to comb through thousands of reports – since they are not ordered by date and ‘Inadequates’ are listed alongside ‘Requires Improvements’ and even ‘Good’ reports.

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