Report raises concerns over safety at home

The Highfield House care home in Rothesay Terrace, Bedlington.
The Highfield House care home in Rothesay Terrace, Bedlington.

Moves are under way to keep a residential care home in Bedlington open after it was put into special measures.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) gave Highfield House in Rothesay Terrace a requires improvement rating earlier this year and further inspections were recently carried out to check that its recommendations were being implemented.

Although it was deemed good once again for the question ‘is the service caring?’ it was inadequate in the key areas of safety and how well it was being led.

The report says that five breaches of regulation had been found in relation to the following issues – ‘person centred care, need for consent, safe care and treatment, good governance and fit and proper persons employed’.

As a result, the facility is now in special measures and the CQC will closely monitor the situation and take action if required.

A process to transfer the care home to new ownership is currently taking place.

It was operated by Touray & Co Limited at the time of the inspections.

A CQC spokesman said: “There is close work and co-operation between all parties involved with this service.

“We are mindful that the local authority wishes for the home to remain open to minimise disruption to the people using the service.

“We will stay in close contact with the current and prospective providers to try to facilitate a timely transfer of ownership.”

Highfield House is registered to provide accommodation with personal care for up to a maximum of 27 people. At the time of the inspections, there were 16 people living at the home.

The CQC report included the following: ‘There was no initial evidence that a recent fire drill had been undertaken or conducted in an appropriate manner.

‘Falls and accidents had not been regularly reviewed.

‘Recently appointed staff had not had live Disclosure and Barring Service checks in place when initially working at the home.

‘Some improvements in the home’s cleanliness had been made and safety certificates were available to view.

‘People’s care needs had not been reassessed. Care plans had not been revised and updated and where work had been carried out on care plans, they did not always cover all aspects of people’s care needs.

‘Risk assessments were reviewed monthly, but information contained in the reviews was limited and did not always reflect identified risks.

‘There had been no substantial audits undertaken since the previous inspections, despite the assurances by the provider that these were in place. Where audits had been undertaken, they were not completed regularly or consistently.’

The report also said that while staff spoken to at the inspections in August were ‘more positive about the home’, at the next inspection in September they felt that ‘morale had dipped over the intervening weeks’.