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CQC rate Tyne and Wear care home inadequate and place in Special Measures

29 July 2016
Donwell House
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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Donwell House care home, Washington, Tyne and Wear that it must make improvements to protect the safety and welfare of people living there.

CQC carried out an unannounced inspection at the home in March 2016 – it was a follow up to previous inspections in May and September 2014. Inspectors found that the providers, Shaftesbury Care GRP Limited, were failing to provide care which was safe, effective, caring, responsive or well led. The home has been rated Inadequate overall and placed into special measures.

During this visit, inspectors identified continued concerns with the safety and quality of care. Medicines were not managed in a safe way. Protocols were in place for 'as and when required' medicines, however they did not contain specific instructions for staff to follow in relation to dosage, time between medicine administration and indicators that a person may need their medicine.

People were unhappy with the variety of meals offered to them and they said meals were not appetising. In addition, staff were not effectively following care plans in relation to monitoring people's nutrition and hydration needs; specifically with regards to monitoring people's weight.

The management of care workers was not good. For example, inspectors found that staff had not attended refresher training in practical moving and handling skills, nor had they attended care planning and risk assessment training. A high number of staff had not received an annual appraisal.

A full report, including a supplementary, can be found here.

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

“People and their relatives told us staff were kind, caring and compassionate and treated people with dignity and respect. However, there were too many aspects of care that were not up to standard.

“The care my inspectors saw being provided at Donwell House falls a long way short of what we expect services to provide. Some of the failures were , basic and routine. For example, the lack of an effective evacuation procedure and poor staff training – are not acceptable.

“People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care and we have told the provider that they must take action as a priority.

“We have been working with Sunderland Council to ensure that people living at the home are not at undue risk. We will continue to monitor this care home. Services in special measures will be kept under review and, if we have not taken immediate action to propose to cancel the provider's registration of the service, will be inspected again within six months.”

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 Manager David Fryer 07901514220 or Kerry James on 0191 233 3324 or 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

Special Measures


All adult social care services inspected since 1 April 2015 that receive an overall rating of Inadequate will be placed into special measures by CQC. The regime is designed to make sure there is a timely and coordinated response to inadequate care and we will use it alongside our enforcement policy.


When a service is in special measures it is the provider’s responsibility to improve, seeking appropriate support from its own resources and from other relevant organisations. When we can, we will signpost providers to improvement support agencies.


Those services will be inspected again within six months. If a service demonstrates improvements and is no longer rated as inadequate for any of the five key questions we will take it out of special measures. If sufficient improvements have not been made and there remains a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take further action which may include cancelling the registration of that service.


More information can be found on our special measures process here:


Since 1 April, providers have been required by law to 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. For further information on the display of CQC ratings, please visit:

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.