Following reports of serious allegations about the standards of care at the Garside Nursing Home on Regency Street (run by Sanctuary Care under a contract managed by Westminster Council on behalf of the NHS) the Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted an urgent inspection into standards and have found the service to be ‘inadequate’ and placed it in special measures. According to the CCQ ‘the service was not safe, the service was not effective, the service was not always caring, the service was not responsive and the service was not well led.’

The CQC also ‘have identified breaches of regulation in relation to safe care and treatment, safeguarding people from abuse, person centred care, dignity and respect, nutrition and hydration, staffing, acting on complaints and good governance’.

Westminster Labour have been deeply worried about the standards of care at Garside since summer 2018 when we called for an end to the Sanctuary contract and for council owned services to come back in house.

At the November 2019 Full Council Meeting Labour put forward a motion calling for: an end to the pooled relationship with the NHS for managing care homes in Westminster; an end to the Sanctuary contract (which would prevent them from taking over responsibility for running new services such as Beachcroft House); for an independent review of the contract management and for Westminster Council to bring the  management of its care homes back in house. The ruling Conservatives rejected all of these proposals except the need to try to end the management arrangement with the NHS.

Westminster Labour Group Leader Councillor Adam Hug said. “The CQC’s findings are a damning assessment of the quality of care being provided by Sanctuary that has let down Westminster residents and put them at risk of harm. The Council must take action now to finally end the contract with Sanctuary and bring an end to this unaccountable outsourcing. It needs to learn serious lessons from this debacle so that our residents are better cared for in future.”

Key findings from the Care Quality Commission Inspection Report for Garside House (see the full report here).

People were placed at undue risk of harm. People were unable to easily call staff for assistance when they needed it. Risk management plans were not always followed correctly to mitigate the risk of harm. People’s medicines were not managed safely. The service did not always follow good infection control procedures.

Care plans did not always meet all people’s health and social care needs. People’s hydration needs were not always met and the risk of dehydration and weight loss was not properly mitigated.

People were not supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff did not support them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service did not support this practice.

People told us their regular staff were kind and caring and treated them well. The frequent use of agency staff impacted on people’s experience of care. Some practices in the service compromised people’s dignity. People and their relatives did not contribute to the formation and review of their care plans and these were not always individualised to meet people’s personal preferences.

People’s social needs were not adequately met and the risk of social isolation was not mitigated. End of life plans were not in place for people.

The service did not engage in a meaningful way with people receiving care and their relatives. Systems were in place to monitor the quality of the service however they had not identified all the concerns raised in this inspection.

The inspection was prompted in part by notification of specific allegations of abuse and mistreatment of people receiving care which we received on 21 October 2019. The local authority visited the service shortly after these allegations were received and raised further concerns of safety and good governance which prompted our inspection of the service. The original allegations are subject to a criminal investigation. As a result, this inspection did not examine the circumstances of the specific allegations.

Enforcement: We have identified breaches of regulation in relation to safe care and treatment, safeguarding people from abuse, person centred care, dignity and respect, nutrition and hydration, staffing, acting on complaints and good governance at this inspection.

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