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EXCLUSIVE: Director's promise over Wirral care home standards
THE DIRECTOR in charge of Wirral adult social services has promised readers his officers are “working hard” to ensure high standards are being achieved in the borough’s care homes.
Graham Hodkinson was responding to a Globe inquiry as another Wirral home came under fire following an inspection by the sector’s watchdog, the Care Quality Commission.
Mother Redcaps in Wallasey has become the fifth home this year to fail to meet required standards.
The CQC issued its management with a formal warning after finding the 51-bed home was still failing to comply with Government regulations covering the management of medicines.
But Redcaps is just the latest in a line of non-compliance.
In January, CQC inspectors found Kingsley House, New Brighton, had failed to meet seven Government quality standards.
In March, the commission inspected Seabank House, Wallasey, and found people who used the service may have been at risk from staff who were not appropriately trained or appraised.
In April, Victoria House, also in Wallasey, was found to have not safeguarded against the risk of abuse. The commission was also concerned about residents' welfare, management of medicines and how care was monitored.
And in June, an inspection of the Anchorage Nursing Home in Hoylake found clients’ medical records were not fully compliant.
Mr Hodkinson, director of adult social services, said: “We work very hard to ensure that standards of provision in residential care homes reflect the high standards that the people of Wirral rightly expect.
“Our quality assurance team works very closely with the CQC and providers to monitor provision and to ensure that where necessary standards are improved.
“The council has invested in its quality assurance team to ensure that people receive a good standard of care and that we can react quickly where there are concerns.
“We work with the homes on issues such as training, recruitment and care planning processes to help them improve. This has happened in the case of Mother Redcaps.
“It is important to remember that people choose the care home that they want to live in – we do not place people as such, but support them financially with their personal choices where appropriate.”
Mr Hodkinson took over at DASS following an independent review which catalogued historic failures in the department. The inquiry, published in January, was carried out after a series of issues first raised in the Globe by whistleblower Martin Morton.
The report by investigator Anna Klonowski detailed a list of "serious and long-running failures" including:
• People with learning disabilities overcharged for services.
• Employees were scared to speak out against management for fear of reprisal.
• Failure to tackle issues raised by employees.
• Poor contract management of external providers of care.
The Local Government Association has since stepped in and set up an improvement board with the council to measure progress in adult social care.
According to the town hall's own website, a recent peer review of its progress found “promising” results.
Mr Hodkinson added: “This independent look at the progress and direction of our improvement plans allows us to take a breath and make sure we are on the right track.
“We are pleased that although we know there is still work to be done, it acknowledges we have a good foundation for further improvement.”