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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Don't mention the 'Inadequate' report! Unsafe homes play down bad CQC ratings

NEW admissions will be limited at two Midlands care homes, after concerns over safety saw the Care Quality Commission impose restrictions on Copper Beeches in Collingham, Northants and Wheathills in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. But, OLM has found, both 'worst homes of the week' are reticent on their official websites about the regulator's latest findings.

Both were last week declared unsafe and both caused major concerns to official inspectors. But the websites make little or no mention of their ‘Inadequate’ reports - or the CQC's move to limit new residents. According to the regulator, they are home to nearly 50 vulnerable older people between them.

Copper Beeches is run by the Ashe Group, owned by the Heath family. Its website does not mention the ‘Inadequate’ report. Indeed, according to the website, the home holds a ‘requires improvement’ report and it states: ‘Copper Beeches boasts peaceful surroundings and a homely interior, ideal for older people looking to achieve a comfortable retirement while 24/7 access to skilled carers, with some provision for dementia care are also available.’

In contrast, CQC report states: ‘Following our inspection we wrote to the provider and asked them to take urgent action to address our concerns. The provider advised us that safeguarding procedures, practices and training would be refreshed.

'However, they did not provide assurances that action would be taken to investigate unexplained injuries...we were not given assurances about how the process...would be avoid the same from happening again .Consequently, we remained concerned that people may be exposed to abuse or improper treatment.’

The CQC said: ‘We restricted admissions to the home and imposed conditions with required the provider to take action to improve the safety of the home.’

News of the ‘Inadequate’ report also appears missing from the Wheathills House website, which does not forget to give prominence to a 9.6 industry rating. However, after a page-by-page search of the glossy site, the latest CQC rating is there - on the Contacts page.

Amid pictures of ‘stunning countryside view’, the Wheathills website boasts: We pride ourselves on the positive feedback we get from our happy residents and their families. We ensure that all our residents are looked after with the utmost respect and care and that their needs are met through our support.’

However, the CQC report paints a less glowing picture: ‘During this inspection we found the service was unsafe as there were no systems in place to manage the service, identify and mitigate risk and therefore ensure people's safety.

‘There were not enough staff to meet people's needs in a timely manner. People were left unattended for long periods of time. Staff were not up to date on the training the provider considered necessary to care for people safely and effectively.’

And the inspectors said: ‘We were told there were regular meeting for people to express their wishes and concerns. We asked for the minutes and were given minutes dated 8 May, there was no year recorded.’

While the website says it offers the 'best standards' of care, the CQC states: ‘We imposed a condition to limit new admissions to the service.’

There were 12 damning reports between 22 and 28 September, five had at least some good points. These homes will no doubt be aggrieved to have been given an ‘Inadequate’ rating, although the CQC does not hand these out for nothing – whatever home owners may claim.

Wheathills and Copper Beeches have restricted admissions. But, as ever, what of the current residents?

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