Kettering care provider left patients ‘missing meals and medicine’

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A Kettering care provider left patients without meals and vital medicine, a damning report has found.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection found Direct Health’s Kettering branch, which provides personal care to 162 people in their own homes, left people neglected and abused due to a systematic failure.

An inspection which took place in July rated the care provider as ‘inadequate’ in all five areas of evaluation.

People were subject to alleged abuse which had not been reported to the appropriate authorities or acted upon, with no registered manager at the service.

Patients did not always receive their medicines safely, leaving them at risk of serious harm.

The inspection found there was no system in place to establish what medicines people were prescribed, or to record these or administer people’s medicines to them safely.

There was also no managerial oversight of telephone calls being received from patients, relatives and staff of the service.

Telephone calls were being received that identified people were being subjected to abuse, missed calls, missed medicines, missed meals and changing care needs.

These telephone calls were not acted upon or checked to ensure that appropriate action had been taken.

Staff receiving calls failed to recognise the significance of what they were being told and issues such as suspected abuse and missed calls were not escalated to the manager.

As a result, people were left for long periods without personal care, meals and medicines and in some cases this meant a loss of dignity.

The care provider will be under review and has been warned it could close if it does not improve.

A CQC report said: “This service will continue to be kept under review and, if needed, could be escalated to urgent enforcement action.

“Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and if there is not enough improvement so there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action to prevent the provider from operating this service.

“This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration.”

A spokesman for Direct Health said formal action had been taken against staff members at the site.

The spokesman said: “Following the publishing of CQC’s latest inspection report, we would like to reassure our Direct Heath (Kettering) customers that they remain to be our priority, alongside our commitment to deliver the highest quality standards of health and social care.

“Since the inspection took place in July we have been working to a stringent action plan, with guidance from the Care Quality Commission, to address the concerns raised.

“To address the specific matters raised around management and safeguarding, we can assure our customers that formal action has been taken against specific staff members working at our Kettering site, and the branch has been restructured accordingly to ensure the timely delivery of all necessary improvements.

“Direct Health acknowledges the value of CQC in ensuring high quality care and we look forward to the re-inspection to demonstrate the significant improvements made.”