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Archived: Direct Health (Sheffield) Requires improvement

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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 5 June 2013
Date of Publication: 27 June 2013
Inspection Report published 27 June 2013 PDF

People should have their complaints listened to and acted on properly (outcome 17)

Not met this standard

We checked that people who use this service

  • Are sure that their comments and complaints are listened to and acted on effectively.
  • Know that they will not be discriminated against for making a complaint.

How this check was done

We looked at the personal care or treatment records of people who use the service, carried out a visit on 5 June 2013, talked with people who use the service and talked with carers and / or family members. We talked with staff.

Our judgement

There was not an effective complaints system available.

Reasons for our judgement

People spoken with said they had no worries or concerns about Direct Health. Their comments included; "I haven’t got any complaints at all. I have the office number so I would ring if I had. I would recommend them." Another person said, “I have no complaints, they have been very good to me. I would ring the office if I had. I would recommend them.” A third person said, “I have no worries or concerns about the agency. I’ve never had to complain but I have the office number in my care plan if I need it. I think they are good. I’ve been a carer myself so I know how difficult the job is. I would recommend them.”

Staff spoken with were aware of the procedure to follow if a complaint was made to them. They were aware that any concerns should be reported to their manager so that safe procedures were adhered to.

At the time of our inspection we spoke with the registered manager. The registered manager explained the complaints handling process that was in place until they had a period of leave from the service. We saw that records were kept in a file of the investigation, actions taken in response to the complaint, and the outcome so that full and relevant records were maintained.

We spoke with the complaints manager who had been recently appointed. They explained that a new system had been put in place in May 2013 to record any complaints should they be made. We saw that complaints were recorded on the ‘Incident Management System’.

The complaints manager explained that the service received complaints and concerns from different sources. The sources included the following: the local authority, Direct Health central office and via the Direct Health website. We saw that complaints and concerns received from the local authority and at the service were recorded on the complaints system using a traffic light system to highlight when complaint responses were overdue.

The registered manager informed us that there had been 66 complaints received within the last 12 months. We saw that there were 22 complaints received from the local authority which were overdue. We looked at one which was overdue and found that the complaint investigation process had not started. This meant that the provider did not have an effective system in place to respond appropriately to complaints to ensure that action was taken to protect people who used the service from the risks associated with unsafe care. On the day of inspection the registered manager showed us an action plan which outlined action to be taken and the lead.

We found that a policy on complaints was in place. Information on the complaints policy was provided to people and contained in their service user guide. We saw that this included the timescales for responses and the contact details of other professional bodies should people choose to contact them. We viewed three complaints and two complaints raised had not been appropriately addressed in line with the services policy and procedure. We also found that the complaints records were not always linked to the correct record.

We acknowledged that the registered manager had systems in place that were monitored and reviewed up until their period of leave from the service. Interim managers were put in place to cover. However, there were gaps noted in addressing complaints and full and complete records were not maintained.