Care home owners told to improve safety

THE owners of a care home have been warned to improve safety standards or face enforcement action after a snap inspection revealed unsafe use of medication.

Staff at Willow Green Care Home, on Eastbourne Road, in Darlington, were found to be unable to identify medication and instructions about how medicines should be administered were ignored during an unannounced visit by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The inspection, on February 14, led to a formal warning against St Martins Care Ltd, which owns the 63-room care home, stating that it must make urgent improvement to standards of care or face further action.

The regulator gave the company, which operates a number of care homes across the North-East and North Yorkshire, until April 5 to improve its practices.

The report from a specialist CQC pharmacy inspector who visited the care home found that some members of staff were unable to identify the exact medication they were administering.

In another case, specific instructions that medication should be administered 20 minutes before food is consumed was ignored.

Under the Health and Social Act regulations operators must protect residents from the risk of unsafe use of medicines by making arrangements for recording, handling, using, dispensing, administering and disposing of medicines used.

CQC director of operations Amanda Sherlock said: “The law says that these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant.

“This warning sends a clear and public message that St Martins Care Ltd needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency or face serious consequences.

“Our inspectors will return to Willow Green Care Home in the near future and if we find that it is not making the required progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to protect the people who use this service."

“We will continue to monitor this care home. If there was evidence that people were at risk, we would take immediate action."

A spokeswoman for St Martins Care Ltd, based in Sunderland, declined to comment on the CQC warning.


Sourced from The Northern Echo, 9th April 2012.