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Undercover reporters expose home care failings

Inspectors promise full investigation including unannounced visits

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 05 April 2016

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has promised a full investigation into revelations in The Sunday Times and on Channel 4's Dispatches programme which exposed serious failings in care in people’s own homes in two parts of London.

The failings by the Haringey branch of Sevacare and the Hillingdon branch of Care Outlook included missed, late and "clipped" visits, falsifying of records and care plans not being followed.

In a statement, the CQC said 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".

The CQC also revealed that independent from the latest revelations, it took action against Sevacare to prevent it from providing personal care and support from its Haringey branch following a lengthy legal process.

As a result, the company transferred the care of people living in Haringey to their branch in Tower Hamlets over seven miles away a service that the CQC recently rated as ‘Requires Improvement and Inadequate’ - without addressing these underlying concerns.

Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC's Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: "My inspectors will be carrying out a further inspection of the Tower Hamlets service soon."

Care Outlook’s Hillingdon branch registered with CQC last September and CQC says it 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.

Ms Sutcliffe added: “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 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.

“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.”

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