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Care Quality Commission takes action to protect people at Grovewood House, Northumberland

12 July 2017
Grovewood House
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Grovewood House, a residential care home in Alnwick, Northumberland has been placed in special measures after the CQC rated them as Inadequate following an inspection in May.

Grovewood House is registered to provide residential care for people, some of whom may be living with a dementia. At the time of this inspection there were 25 people living at the home.

This service was previously inspected in March 2016 and was rated as Requires Improvement.

The full report from the inspection can be found on our website.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care for CQC said:

“People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, responsive and high quality care. We found that the care provided at Grovewood House fell a long way short of what we expect services to provide.

“We inspected this home in March last year and told them where they needed to improve. Although there was improvement action taken when CQC pointed issues out at this inspection, it is disappointing that some of the same issues remain since the previous inspection, and also worrying that we found fresh concerns.

“The safety of people using these services was not being met on a basic level. Checks and tests on equipment and the home itself were not being undertaken putting people at risk.

“We were concerned that one person had sustained an unobserved injury and records relating to the incident were not detailed. There was no recorded investigation into how it might have happened and what could be done to avoid it happening to this person or others in future.

“Although staff were respectful in their approach to people, their privacy and dignity was not always respected. There was no blind in a bathroom on the first floor which overlooked the main entrance, and washable chair protection pads were placed over some armchair cushions in case of incontinence. This could draw people’s attention to the potential problem and compromise the dignity of people using the service.

“We are working with partners including Northumberland County Council to ensure the safety of people using this service.”

There was a lack of consistent and effective management which coupled with ineffective systems for checking quality meant issues were not identified or resolved, making improvement at Grovewood House slow and unsustainable.”

Some of the other findings included:

  • Medicines weren’t always managed effectively. Although most medicines were stored in lockable cupboards, they were stored in an unlocked room which was accessible from the garden. Inspectors found some medications on the window sill in the sun which meant they were not always stored safely to ensure their effectiveness. The home addressed this issue by the end of the inspection and made sure medicines were kept locked away and at the correct temperature.
  • The adaptation, design and decoration of the home did not fully meet the needs of people with a dementia related condition. In addition, the environment did not fully promote people's privacy, dignity and independence.
  • Since 2011, the provider was breaching one or more regulations at six out of 10 inspections. Most of these breaches related to regulations regarding the premises and governance of the service. At this inspection further concerns were identified including shortfalls and breaches of regulations. This meant that compliance with the regulations was not sustained and consistency of good practice was not demonstrated.

Services in special measures will be kept under review and, if CQC have not taken immediate action to propose cancelling the provider's registration, they will be inspected again within six months. The expectation is that locations providing inadequate care should have made significant improvements within this timeframe.

Any regulatory decision that CQC takes is open to challenge by a registered person through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.


For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Officer Kerri James by email or by phone on 07464 92 9966.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here.

Please note: the press office is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters. For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
12 July 2017

Notes to editors

Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all adult social care services are given a rating to help people choose care. We ask five questions, are services; safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

Providers must display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. This should be done within 21 days of publication of their inspection report. 

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.