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Care Quality Commission takes action to protect people at Sowerby House, in North Yorkshire

12 December 2016
Sowerby House
  • Media

Sowerby House, a residential care home in Thirsk, North Yorkshire has been placed in special measures after the CQC rated them as Inadequate following an unannounced inspection in October.

At the time of the inspection Sowerby House was registered to provide residential and nursing care for up to 51 older people some of whom are living with a dementia; 27 people were living at the service 11 people were receiving nursing care and 16 people were receiving residential care.

This service was previously inspected in February 2015 and was rated as Good.

This inspection was prompted in part by the notification of two separate concerns following the deaths of two people living at the service. These incidents are subject to an investigation and as a result this inspection did not examine the circumstances of these incidents.  The outcome of the investigation will be reported on separately.

However the information shared with CQC about the incidents indicated potential concerns about the management of people's nutrition and hydration and general standards of care and this inspection examined these issues.

Following the inspection the provider submitted an application to remove the nursing care part of the service. This meant that the home no longer provides nursing and some residents moved to a new service.

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

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North for CQC, said:

“People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care. We were concerned after receiving information following the deaths of two people living at the service, that general, as well as nutrition and hydration standards fell a long way short of what we expect services to provide.

“It was unacceptable that we saw people calling out for assistance on the nursing unit, for prolonged periods of time before assistance was provided. We found the service did not have the right number of skilled staff to meet people’s needs on this unit.

“We were also concerned about the ongoing safety of residents. We saw one resident with dementia, who was at risk of leaving the building. Their care file recorded two incidents where they had been found outside the service, but there was no information on how this situation was to be avoided in the future putting this person at continued risk of harm. 

“We made 11 safeguarding referrals to North Yorkshire County Council as a result of our findings and are working closely with them to ensure the safety of people using this service.  

Sowerby House did not have effective systems in place to monitor the care being delivered to people. Inspectors found record keeping was poor and management oversight at the service was not effective in ensuring people were provided with safe care.

They had failed to ensure all of the people who used the service had received safe and effective care and treatment. They had not taken reasonable and practicable steps to mitigate the risks posed to people who used the service.

Some of the other findings included:

  • Medicines were not being safely administered in line with prescribing instructions.
  • People's nutritional and hydration needs were not being met.
  • People were being deprived of their liberty without the required safeguards in place.

CQC are now considering their enforcement actions. 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:
29 May 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 a required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily.

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.