Staffing concerns raised during CQC inspection

A residential care home run by Action for Care Ltd has been told to make urgent improvements because of concerns relating to management oversight and staffing.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced focused inspection at Low Lane House in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, in June following concerns, which had been raised.

The setting, which is a care home for up to six young adults who live with a learning disability or autism has been rated ‘inadequate’ overall and for being safe and well-led. It is ‘requires improvement’ for being effective.

‘When we inspected Low Lane House, we had several serious concerns for people living there. The overall quality of the service had significantly deteriorated since our last inspection,’ said Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

‘People were being let down by staffing numbers. There weren’t always enough on duty to keep people safe and give them the support they needed. Particularly during the night when there were not enough staff to help people with personal care, carry out restraint or to safely evacuate the building if a fire occurred. As some staff training was out of date, they weren’t always skilled in recognising or responding to these kinds of risks.’

Inspectors found risk was not safely managed; fire safety actions had not been addressed; there were insufficient staff on duty to safely care for people; medicine records lacked detail needed to ensure people received effective and safe treatment; and there were gaps in the support that staff received.

‘The provider has started to make changes to reduce risk, and we will continue to monitor them to make sure more improvements are made and embedded,’ said Ivanova.

However, the CQC pointed out people were supported with their nutritional intake, and staff were supportive of each other and of the manager who was based at the service.

While the service has been placed in special measures, caring and responsive were not looked at during the inspection, therefore the previous rating of ‘good’ remain for those areas. It had been previously rated ‘good’ overall and in all five domains.

With regards staffing struggles in the wider sector, a CQC spokesperson told CM: ‘We continue to monitor the situation in the adult social care sector and are aware of the severe pressures and workforce shortage that providers are facing. If providers, people who access care or loved ones have concerns about the quality of care people are receiving, I would urge them to get in touch with CQC.’

An Action for Care spokesperson said: ‘Since the inspection, there have been a number of positive changes to the service management structure including the registration of a new manager. Our systems of audit and monitoring have been further strengthened.

‘We are confident in the service currently provided and continue to seek feedback from
individuals, their families and professionals to ensure the service continues to develop and

‘We are committed to working transparently with CQC and other agencies and hope to receive a prompt re-inspection by CQC within their timescale to evidence the current much improved position at the service to replace the now historical assessment by CQC of the position from three months ago.’