Homecare agency placed in special measures

A domiciliary care agency in south London has been placed in special measures over safety concerns.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) identified several failings at Medacs Healthcare – Croydon in December 2018, including staff not adhering to their visiting schedules, with some not knowing how to administer medicines to homecare users safely.

The service was previously inspected in March last year when it was rated as Requires Improvement and found to be unlawfully operating with not enough employees to meet user’s needs.

The regulator said in its latest unannounced visit that despite an action plan from the provider, vacancy rates remained high leaving it in continued breach of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Before its visit, service users and local authorities had informed the CQC that Medacs workers were not attending home visits on time.

The regulator reviewed the agency’s electronic call monitoring data and said staff were ‘very often’ late for visits with only 45% of them taking place within 15 minutes of the planned time.

Inspectors heard that some users, including older people and disabled adults, often did not know when to expect their morning visit – which could fall as early as 5.30 am or much later in the morning.

Beverley Sims-Manley, managing director for Medacs Healthcare – Croydon, said services at the agency had deteriorated because it had been awarded several contracts ‘in a short period of time’.

She said: ‘These award successes were characterised by an unprecedented shortfall in staff transferring from the outgoing providers. 

‘We are deeply disappointed with the outcome of this inspection and the failings that have been identified.

‘We have implemented immediate actions to address the safety of care, including a suspension of referrals across the business until we are comfortable that we have the trained staffing capacity to take on the additional activity,’ she added.