Council care provider put elderly and vulnerable people ‘at risk’

Photograph: Jonathan Banks via British Red Cross on Flickr
Photograph: Jonathan Banks/British Red Cross via Flickr

A home care provider contracted by Tower Hamlets Council to look after 202 elderly and vulnerable residents has received an “inadequate” rating and been accused of putting people “at risk”.

Sevacare, which is based in Wolverhampton, has provided residential care on behalf of the council since 2012.

But following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in November 2015, it was told its safety was “inadequate” and that its effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership “required improvement”.

Medicines were found to have been administered either too frequently or not at all.

Inspectors also found care plans that were out of date or missing vital healthcare instructions, as well as records that did not correlate with care plans.

The CQC’s report, published in January, states: “The service was not safe. People who used the service did not always receive care that was appropriate or met their needs.”

It adds that the branch “breached” the Health and Social Care Act and “put people at risk of being supported with medicines in an unsafe way”.

One person’s medicine record showed they had been given their medicine four days in a row, when they only needed it every other day.

Another person’s care records “were inconsistent and did not always mention continence care, meaning it was not clear if and how this care was provided.”

The report states: “The visit times of one person in their care records did not tally with the times specified in the person’s care plan.”

People being cared for had struggled to contact the office, and one person said: “The office doesn’t phone you back.”

Another service user told inspectors: “Communication from the office is poor. They don’t inform me of any change of carer or if my carer is going to be away. I need to get to know people.”

The report showed carers’ annual appraisals were neglected. An office staff member told inspectors: “A lot of them don’t have much to say in these meetings.”

The branch was first investigated in 2014 in response to allegations of a “bullying culture between senior staff and care workers”.

Safety concerns

Sevacare’s Haringey branch was shut down last week by the CQC due to safety concerns after an investigation by Channel 4 showed care workers missing and cutting visits short, not following care plans and falsifying records.

Until then, the Tower Hamlets and Haringey divisions were operating from the same building.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC, said: “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.”

A Tower Hamlets council spokesperson said: “Sevacare began providing home care for the council in 2012 after a rigorous procurement process that assessed its quality and value.

“The Haringey branch of Sevacare where failings were identified was operating as a separate branch from the Tower Hamlets one – the roles of the managers and carers of the two services do not cross over.

“We carry out site visits, check on progress against the Care Quality Commission’s action plan and receive regular monitoring information from the service.

“We have found Tower Hamlets Sevacare’s response to all concerns raised to be satisfactory, thorough and prompt.”

In response to the inspection, a spokesperson for Sevacare Tower Hamlets, said: “We take all feedback from the CQC very seriously and following the inspection in November 2015, we immediately implemented a detailed action plan to address the points raised.

“We work very hard to provide high quality care, and over the last four months have strengthened our training and quality monitoring processes.

“We are confident that as the result of the robust action we have taken, this report is no longer an accurate reflection of the high quality, compassionate care we are providing.”

  1. klj on Thursday 19 May 2016 at 7:20 am

    I just quit my job from there, bad place.

  2. […] Originally published on the East End Citizen on April 12, 2016. […]


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