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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Care firm told it must improve

INSPECTORS have warned a home care provider it failed to protect the safety and welfare of clients.

Bethsaida Homecare Services, which covers a large part of Copeland, has been issued with a formal warning saying it must make “urgent improvements – or face further action”.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says spot checks found the company, a care agency that goes out to people in the community, was failing to meet national standards.

Inspectors were concerned that “people were not consistently receiving the care they required at appropriate times of the day”.

Several service users told inspectors that visits from care workers were often delayed and the firm has said there were four visits missed in a month.

Bosses at Bethsaida, which is based at Westlakes Science Park just outside Whitehaven, pointed out it carries out thousands of visits and the percentage missed was tiny.

They said three of the missed visits were because a member of staff failed to turn up for work and failed to inform the company.

Both this member of staff and the employee responsible for the other visit were no longer with the company, said the firm.

It added that late visits were “a constant battle” it shared with other agencies as it covered a patch stretching from Distington to Bootle.

The commission said the warning follows unannounced visits by inspectors to the company offices in August and October.

Inspectors reviewed a sample of care records and spoke with people who use the service, their relatives, members of staff and the manager.

The commission added delayed visits posed a risk to the welfare of people who care workers helped to take important medication or people with conditions such as diabetes. It said people awaiting care were not being informed of any delay.

Systems in place to monitor the quality of service being provided were limited, it found, adding that the agency received several complaints from people using the service.

Malcolm Bower-Brown, CQC’s director in the north, said: “This warning sends a clear message that Bethsaida Homecare Services need to address these issues as a matter of urgency or face serious consequences.

“Our inspectors will conduct a follow-up review in the near future. If we find the agency is not making the required progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to ensure customers are receiving the service they are entitled to expect.”

David Ditchburn, director at Bethsaida, said: “This inspection was several months ago and since then things have improved enormously and the issues highlighted in the report addressed, as will be seen on our inspection.

“Bethsaida Homecare was, over recent years, judged to be worthy of three-star excellence for the care given to the people who we look after and a bronze award from Investors In People for staff care and training.

“Our care standards and training have not changed. Most of this complaint and failing was largely due to late visits – not missed visits – which in turn were caused by staff going sick at the very last moment and us having to rearrange everyone else’s rota to ensure we do visit everyone we are contracted to visit.”

The company provides care and support to people of all ages and disabilities, covering practical issues such as personal care, cleaning, laundry and meals.

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