Seven-month police probe into Covid-hit Kettering care home ends with 'no further action'

Temple Court owners want independent inquiry into what led to closure following outbreak

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 10:46 am

Owners of a county care home say they would welcome an independent inquiry into what led to it being shut down following a coronavirus outbreak last year.

Temple Court in Kettering closed in May amid claims of inadequate care, accusations by whistle-blowers and a damning report by inspectors.

Northamptonshire Police this week ended a seven-month criminal investigation with no further action being taken, although regulators at the Care Quality Commission are still looking into the home.

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But a statement from Amicura Care, which ran Temple Court, insisted: “We co-operated fully with the police investigation and we welcome the decision to take no further action.

“Our priority has always been the well-being of our residents and giving them the best care possible.

"The home was left in an extremely challenging position after a sudden influx of residents from the NHS in late March – some of whom had very complex needs – and a subsequent outbreak of Covid-19.

“A large number of staff, including the home manager and senior team, were absent due to the virus and we were left disproportionately reliant on the use of agency staff.

Temple Court was closed down following a Covid outbreak

"We sought assistance from the local authority and NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group when it became clear to us that the home could no longer cope.

“The CQC inspected on May 12 when care was being directed by the local authority and NHS Nene CCG and on May 13 when the home was completely empty.

“A previous inspection by NHS Nene CCG on January 23 gave the home an overall score of 92 per cent — including scores of 100 per cent in nutrition and hydration, safeguarding, infection prevention and control, medication management, prevention of falls, access to primary care, staffing, and staff training.

"All of these were rated as inadequate by the CQC less than four months later.

“We would welcome an independent inquiry that sought to identify all of the factors that led to such a sudden deterioration of standards at Temple Court.”

Police launched their investigation under Section 21 of the Criminal Justice & Courts Act 2015 covering ill-treatment or wilful neglect after calls from families of residents.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: "Seven months ago, our officers were called in to investigate a number of concerns raised by the county council relating to the standard of care provided at the Temple Court Care Home in Kettering.

“These centred upon identifying if any offences may have been committed in line with Section 21 of the Criminal Justice & Courts Act 2015.

“Our investigation has now concluded and, as such, no further action will be taken by Northamptonshire Police. That decision has also been relayed to both the families concerned and the Care Quality Commission.

“We will be making no further comment at this time.”

Temple Court was shut down after the local authority social care department and health authorities ordered bosses to move out all its surviving residents in early May.

Care Quality Commission inspectors found "serious failings" at the nursing home following the Covid-related deaths of 15 residents.

But Amicura, which is part of the Minster Group, claimed the problems were largely down to patients being sent into the home from the county’s two hospitals as part of a mass discharge to free up beds ahead of an expected surge of Covid-19 patients.

The outbreak also affected the home's manager and staff leaving it having to rely on agency workers.