Care service team in Birmingham sacked for sleeping on the job following CQC inspection
A team of care providers were sacked after they were found sleeping instead of monitoring a person with a serious condition in Birmingham
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A care service based in Sutton Coldfield has been rated ‘inadequate’ after staff in charge of monitoring someone’s serious condition at night were found sleeping.
Fairway Homecare on Duke Street scored the lowest grade in both safety and leadership in a report published on Tuesday (March 28).
During an inspection, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was told by a relative that staff who were supposed to be supporting their loved one at night had been asleep. This placed one particular person with a serious condition that needed monitoring at night at ‘significant risk of harm’.
A director at the service admitted the drop in standards “was simply inexcusable” and said it “acted swiftly” to put things right and dismissed the whole team responsible.
Fairway Homecare provides personal care to people in their own homes. At the time of the CQC’s latest inspection, 26 people were receiving care from the service, which typically involves help with tasks related to personal hygiene and eating.
Another safety issue highlighted in the report involved medication administration records (MAR) that were not updated and were contradictory about people’s treatment.
The report said: “One relative advised us of a previous discrepancy where a MAR chart listed an ‘as and when required’ (PRN) medication as being required several times daily. This put the person at significant risk of harm. The relative highlighted the error and ensured it was corrected.”
The service was rated ‘requires improvement’ across the board at its last inspection in 2019 and was urged to improve its leadership.
But in February this year, inspectors downgraded this to ‘inadequate’ after it found ‘widespread and significant shortfalls in service leadership’.
The report reads: “Leaders and the culture they created did not assure the delivery of high-quality care. Record keeping at the service was poor and there was a lack of ownership of oversight responsibilities at the service.”
In other areas such as the effectiveness of care, the CQC said it ‘requires improvement’, but did find some positives such as recorded food and drink preferences within care plans.
The report claims staff were knowledgeable about people’s mealtime routines and their likes and dislikes. On whether or not the service was caring, one relative told the CQC some staff lacked sympathy and patience, which compromised people’s dignity.
Meanwhile, another relative told inspectors they had some difficulties with new staff members who did not know their needs, but added their main two carers were ‘absolutely superb’.
Operations director at Fairway Homecare Alex O’Neill said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed with the report however we welcome the feedback and support from CQC and have already made significant strides to rectify the findings.
“We acted swiftly when we discovered that the management of the service fell below our high standards and expectations and it led to the dismissal and removal of the entire management and supervision team involved in the domiciliary care service some 10 weeks before the inspection took place.
“A new service manager was recruited along with a new team to utilise the huge resources and support network made available to the previous regime. The new team hadn’t had quite long enough to implement all of the changes and improvements, exacerbated by the migration to a new IT platform when the unannounced visit took place.
“The special measures that have been applied mirror exactly the action plan that was already agreed, approved and was being implemented. To date, some 500+ pages of evidence show massive improvement and we will continue to make hugely positive strides very quickly.
“It is a massive disappointment that the previous team allowed standards to slip as it was simply inexcusable. Every resource in terms of IT, Recruitment, Training and administration was made available but basic people management shortcomings led to the shortfall in basic principles.
“We acted swiftly and are in the process of rebuilding, sadly the inspection came before we had a chance to evidence the work that was underway”.
After receiving an ‘inadequate’ rating, the service will now be placed in ‘special measures’, meaning it will be under review and further inspections will be held to check for significant improvements.