CQC removes Optima Care locations from registration

Optima Care Ltd is no longer providing regulatory care to service users following action from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The regulator has published findings from its inspections of five care services provided by Optima and removed the locations from its registration, three of which have now closed.

All five services provided care including for individuals with learning difficulties and autistic people. Previously they were rated ‘inadequate’ and placed into special measures following the inspections.

The provider has notified CQC and Kent County Council it intends to keep two of the services open, however, both will provide care outside of regulatory remit.

The reports cover Eastry Villa’s, Gate House, Heron House, Shine Supported Living and Optima Care Ltd – 37 Spenser Road.

‘These reports make distressing reading – people were not receiving the care and support they needed to ensure their health, welfare and safety needs were met, the standard of care they were receiving placed them at risk of harm,’ said Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

‘It was clear during our inspections particularly of Gate House and Eastry Villa’s that some staff including senior management did not have the skills or expertise to provide support and care to people living in these homes especially those with complex needs. Neither did staff have the skills to manage people’s distress and the resulting behaviours.’

CQC inspectors found evidence of abuse, closed cultures, unlawful use of restraint and a deprivation of people’s liberties across the services.

Eastry Villa’s and Gate House, both in Eastry, near Sandwich, Kent, were rated ‘inadequate’ following inspections in February. Both services have closed. Optima Care Ltd – 37 Spenser Road in Herne Bay, Kent, was rated ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in February. The service has also closed.

Heron House in Herne Bay, Kent, was rated ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in February. Whilst the building remains in use it is no longer operating as a care home. Shine Supported Living was rated ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in March. The watchdog is aware some people remain at the location but are not receiving regulated care and the home is no longer regulated by CQC.

Louise Orr, Optima Care managing director, said: ‘We were deeply concerned and saddened by the CQC findings at the start of 2021, which showed that our standards had deteriorated compared with much more positive findings of earlier inspections.

‘We have a zero tolerance approach to the kind of behaviour outlined in the original CQC report and we took immediate action following the inspections. This included taking the decision to close the three homes and bringing in a new management team to oversee the improvements requested.

‘We also decided to de-register the other two services that were rated inadequate at the start of 2021. We continue to work in partnership with Kent County Council in an open and transparent way to ensure these services return to the standards we expect.

‘We want to ensure that incidents like those highlighted by CQC can never happen again and have engaged external consultants in supporting the oversight and development of quality assurance and improvement.’