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CQC responds to joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches on instances of poor home care by two providers
Yesterday (Sunday 3 April 2016), The Sunday Times published a story, which exposed serious failings in care in people’s own homes in two specific locations – the Haringey branch of Sevacare and the Hillingdon branch of Care Outlook. The coverage published ahead of an investigation in tonight’s Dispatches on Channel 4.
The failings uncovered by the reporters included missed, late and ‘clipped’ visits, falsifying of records, and care plans not being followed.
CQC is clear that these examples of poor care are unacceptable and do not represent services that should be safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led – this is what people deserve and what CQC expects.
Independent from the joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Dispatches, CQC took action against Sevacare, to prevent it from providing personal care and support from its Haringey branch, following a lengthy legal process.
Care Outlook’s Hillingdon branch registered with CQC last September and CQC will use the information from The Sunday Times and Dispatches, together with other information of concern, to inform its planned, unannounced inspection of the service.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said: “When providers are paid to care for people in vulnerable circumstances, they must ensure that care is safe, compassionate and high quality.
“The examples of poor care, as uncovered by Dispatches and by The Sunday Times, are completely unacceptable and in particular, confirm the significant concerns we have had about Sevacare’s Haringey branch over the past year.
“Our concerns were so serious at the Haringey branch that we used our toughest enforcement powers to close it down. This action took longer than we would have liked because instead of addressing the problems and improving people’s care, Sevacare chose to challenge us at every step of the legal process.
“I am extremely concerned that Sevacare has transferred the care of people living in Haringey to their Tower Hamlets branch – a service that we have recently rated as Requires Improvement and Inadequate for whether it is ‘safe’ – without addressing the underlying problems. My inspectors will be carrying out a further inspection of the Tower Hamlets service soon.
“Also, we will be inspecting Care Outlook’s Hillingdon branch soon to provide a full assessment of the quality and safety of its service. If we find unacceptable levels of care, we will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers to the full.”
- CQC started procedures to amend the registration of Sevacare to remove its Haringey branch in April 2015 (i.e. it issued a notice of proposal), following its inspection in December 2014 that had rated the service as ‘Inadequate’. The de-registration could only occur after legal challenges had been exhausted. The service was able to continue to operate whilst these were ongoing. To ensure the safety of people using services, CQC inspected Sevacare Haringey in June and November of 2015 and there was a restriction placed by the local authority on Sevacare Haringey that they could not take on new clients. There was some improvement between the December 2014 and June 2015 inspections, although the safety of the service still remained inadequate so the process to close the branch continued. The final legal challenges by Sevacare were unsuccessful in March 2016: the branch was removed from Sevacare’s registration on 15 February 2016 following a strike-out at First-tier Tribunal and the legal process concluded on 31 March 2016.
- While CQC cannot enforce contractual requirements between care providers and local authorities with regards to the length and nature of home care visits, the regulations that underpin CQC’s work allow it to assess the overall quality and safety of services. Providers are responsible for ensuring that visits to people in their own homes are carried out in a way that is safe, effective, caring and responsive to their needs. CQC is clear that visits should not be rushed and that staff should not ignore the people within their care – providers that condone this practice cannot be running a safe, caring or responsive business. No well-led organisation would allow this to happen.
- Last updated:
- 29 May 2017