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Mendip House, Somerset rated as Inadequate

8 August 2016
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission have rated Mendip House, as Inadequate, following a series of inspections in May and June.

CQC inspectors found Mendip House in Highbridge, Somerset was Inadequate for being Safe, Effective, Responsive Caring and Well-led. To read the full report and ratings for all key services click on this link:

The service accommodates six people who have autism and complex support needs. Five people live in the main part of the home; one person lives in a self-contained annexe. People living at Mendip House can access other facilities attached to Somerset Court which include various day services provided by the National Autistic Society.

Inspectors found people living in the service had not been kept safe. A number of serious allegations, such as abuse, neglect and degrading treatment of people, had been made. One staff member raised their concerns with inspectors directly as they had no confidence that the provider would take their concerns seriously and act on them. The concerns were reported to the police and the local authority safeguarding team immediately whose investigations continue.

People living at the service could not easily say they felt unwell so it was important staff monitored people’s health closely. Health plans were poor and people at risk of weight gain or loss were not being weighed to help ensure they remained a healthy weight. While checking care records, inspectors found some health plans had nothing recorded in them since 2013 although staff told us people would have seen health professionals since then. When people attended an appointment often no record was kept including the outcome which may have included changes to people’s medicines or their health care. This means there was no effective way of checking if people had regular health reviews or if their health care was appropriate or met their needs.

People did not have a choice of nutritious meals and drinks. Some people’s diets were very poor placing them at risk of malnutrition for example staff had stated at a person’s review in October 2015 their diet had improved but this was not an accurate reflection of their daily records. These clearly showed his person mostly ate food from one particular fast food chain (often twice each day) and refused healthier alternatives.

Staff were not found to be supporting people’s diverse needs. Inspectors did not find any cultural or spiritual needs assessed or recorded in any person’s care plan. People had not been supported to share their views on the service they received. There were members of the community who did not have any formal way to communicate or express their views and there was no advocacy in place for any person to help them do this.

People living in the service were not receiving personalised care which was responsive to their needs. Care planning was found by inspectors to be confusing and out of date. Plans were not reviewed and did not reflect people’s current needs. Some records could not be located during the inspection; there was evidence these records had never been completed.

Overall the home had been extremely poorly managed. Inspectors found a chaotic approach to management systems, structures and record keeping. The provider’s governance and auditing of the service had been weak and ineffective and there had been a lack of action when the home failed to improve in identified areas. The damaging staff culture was known about and discussed both within the home and by the senior management team but the appropriate action had not been taken.

Debbie Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:

“Everyone who uses this service has a right to safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care. I am extremely concerned that Mendip House has failed to meet even some of the most basic needs for the people living there. These are unacceptable failings and must not be allowed to continue.

“After discussions, the provider, The National Autistic Society, have informed us they are taking action to cancel the registration of Mendip house and learn from the failings found at the last CQC inspection. In the meantime we will continue to work with Somerset County Council and the National Autistic Society to ensure that people are safe and are in a position to receive care more appropriate for their needs.

“If we do not see immediate changes in care we will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers to ensure improvements take place ”


For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Manager John Scott on 07789 875809 or, for media enquiries, call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. (Please note: the duty press officer 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


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.